There is mounting evidence to show that people's food choices are influenced by social others. However, there is scant research on how consumers' food choices are affected by perceived competence of others present in the retail setting. The findings of Study 1 indicate that when the other customer is perceived as competent (i.e., paying with a Platinum Amex), the focal consumer chooses the same (organic vs. standard) chicken wrap. However, such a mimicking behavior is absent when the other customer lacks competency cues (i.e., paying with food stamps). Study 2 shows that social modeling doesn't occur in the context of indulgent food choices. Moreover, the findings of Study 2 demonstrate that competence cues perceived similarity between the other customer and the focal consumer.
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