Playing ethnic music in restaurants increases consumer experience. Studies show, furthermore, that ethnic congruence of music and food affects food selection but not the liking of customers. An eye-tracking study was completed with 104 participants to uncover if there is an effect of ethnic music on selecting ethnic foods. German, Hungarian, Italian, and Spanish ethnic music was played while participants choose congruent starters, main dishes, and desserts. Results show that visual attention decreased when any background music was played. However, when played, the highest visual attention was recorded during Spanish music. Similarly, the most visual attention was recorded on Spanish dishes. Food choice frequencies showed no differences among the four nations. However, after aggregating German-Hungarian and Italian-Spanish music and dishes, it turned out that participants chose congruent music and food. Choice predictions were also completed on data with and without ethnic music. The performance of prediction models significantly increased when music was played. These findings highlight a clear link between music and food choices, and that music helped participants complete their choices and decide faster.
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