Challenges and opportunities in transforming digital food experience



It is obvious that the business model of food sector has changed significantly with the rapid development of the technology. What we eat, where we eat and how we eat is subject to how the restaurants react to the changing trend and embrace the digital age (Murtarelli, Romenti & Valentini, 2021; Galanakis, Rizou, Aldawoud, Ucak, & Rowan, 2021). While a delicious meal is always a memorable one, companies are now more focused than ever on providing guests with an excellent experience that goes beyond food (Hong & Hsu, 2021; Im, Qu & Beck, 2021); whether it is designing an Instagrammable restaurant or an app/system that swiftly delivers takeaways (Fuentes, Cegrell, & Vesterinen, 2021; McCain, Lolli, Liu, & Lin, 2021). 

The demand for restaurants to switch to multiple technological tools for the purpose of infiltrating the gastronomic experience is gaining more important in the 21st century. For example, the use of digital kiosk, mobile paying system or online ordering system aims to speed up the dining experience (Kaliappen & Hassan, 2022; Wang, Huang, Lin & Jiao, 2022). This innovation also accompanies with several benefits, such as the ability to collect restaurant data to better understand customers, to reduce human errors that may occur due to miscommunication or language barriers, while allowing front-line staff to engage with customers, rather than looking at a screen. Many recent studies also revealed that consumers find it more enjoy when ordering food using innovative system/device compared to conventional approach (Ciftci, Choi, & Berezina, 2021.) Robot restaurant or AI-operated restaurant is another emerging trend in both developed and developing countries, where orders are taken to diners by robot waiters. The system is well known for its excellent customer service as some of the robots are programmed with responses and can politely ask people to move out of their way when blocked (Guan, Gong, Li, & Huan, 2021; Ma, Yang, Huang, & Song, 2022). Basically, restaurant kills two birds with a robot waitress, as the robot is not only used to enforce social distancing, but also to deal with the shortage of labour (Hwang, Kim, Joo, & Kim, 2022). In coming year, there is a high probability for us to see even more robots in preparing, cooking and serving customers.

Moving forward, the next wave of enhancing competitive advantage in food sector is rooted in leveraging technology to provide ultra-personalized and unique experience which cultivate true loyalty behaviour. To allow such a more thorough understanding of the effective strategies in practicing digital operation in food sector, we call for research from various disciplines to enhance prior insights on establishing how, when and why moving towards innovation can benefit to the restaurateurs.


List of topic areas

Topics of interest to the Special Issue are multidisciplinary and include, but are not limited to: 

  • Identifying and addressing strategies to establish authentic and memorable food experience via cutting-edge technologies 
  • The impact of social media influencer(s) or food forum/review on dining behaviour.
  • Similarities and differences in the use social/electronic commerce apps for food ordering across both developed and developing countries. 
  • The gaps of using digitalization in full-service restaurants. 
  • Exploring how the block chain-based system is used to build and improve digital food experience. 
  • Exploring the key barriers to encourage co-creation and personalization digital dining experience 
  • Culture and values issues in building digital dining experience 
  • Automation trends in food sectors 
  • Application of different methods and data set (e.g., online and offline survey, interview, experiments and secondary data) to examine the digital food experience. 
  • Consumers’ perceptions towards buying food items by online platforms. 
  • Consumers’ attitude towards using food delivery apps. 
  • Digitalization and innovation policies related to online food shopping. 
  • The push and pull factors in using food delivery apps


Guest Editors

Umair Akram, 
School of Business and Management, RMIT University, Vietnam,
[email protected] 


C. Michael Hall, 
Department of Management, Marketing and Tourism, University of Canterbury,
[email protected] 


Heesup Han, 
College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Sejong University, Korea,
[email protected] 


Pantea Foroudi,
Business School, Middlesex University London, 
[email protected]


Submissions Information

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available at: 
Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see: 
Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to “Please select the issue you are submitting to”. 
Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.


Key Deadlines

Opening date for manuscripts submissions: 30 December 2022 
Closing date for manuscripts submission: 30 May 2023 
Email for submission queries: [email protected]