Slow Food Versus Fast Food

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Tourism and Hospitality Research http://thr.sagepub.com/

Slow food versus fast food: A Zimbabwean case study of hotelier perspectives Muchazondida Mkono Tourism and Hospitality Research 2012 12: 147 originally published online 14 December 2012 DOI: 10.1177/1467358412470556 The online version of this article can be found at: http://thr.sagepub.com/content/12/3/147

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Article

Slow food versus fast food: A Zimbabwean case study of hotelier perspectives Muchazondida Mkono
Southern Cross University, Australia

Tourism and Hospitality Research 12(3) 147–154 ! The Author(s) 2012 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav DOI: 10.1177/1467358412470556 thr.sagepub.com

Abstract Prior to the last three years, hotels dominated the tourist food market in the resort town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. However, in recent years, fast food restaurants have begun penetrating the resort. Facing the threat of losing market share, hoteliers have been panicking and hotels are waging a war against the new entrants. Victoria Falls has thus become, to a significant extent, a ‘slow food versus fast food’ battleground. This study adopts hermeneutic phenomenology to investigate how this plays out from the viewpoints of the decision makers in this battle, namely, hotel food and beverage managers. The underlying objective is to explore how the contemporary slow food–fast food contention is enacted in an African case study context.

Keywords fast food, slow food, hotels, hoteliers, competition, Zimbabwe

Introduction
Most hotels at Victoria Falls have for decades prided themselves on a culture of serving leisurely, gourmet meals (especially dinners) prepared using local ingredients including a variety of game meat (e.g. buffalo, kudu, impala, warthog, crocodile, guinea fowl), local mushrooms and vegetable varieties, and fish from the nearby Zambezi River. Arguably, a significant proportion of this food qualifies to be called ‘slow food’, because it meets the four criteria for slowlness (Rothermel, 2009). First, slow food must be freshly prepared from fresh ingredients, mostly vegetables, fruit and whole grains, and meat in small portions. Second, the food must be eaten leisurely in company. Third, it must be simple but varied in taste. Finally, it must be produced in an ethical and environmentally friendly manner. However, in recent years, fast food restaurants, led by Innscor brands such as Chicken Inn, Creamy Inn, and so on, have begun penetrating the market. Indeed the expansion of fast food chains in the last decade can be observed in several African countries. In South Africa, international chains such as KFC and McDonald’s are becoming virtually ubiquitous. Rapid growth of fast food restaurant chains has

become a global phenomenon (Berta, 2003; Doherty and van Warner, 1995; Emerson, 1980; King, 2004; Lan and Khan, 1995; Parsa and Khan, 1989; Soeder, 1994; Walkup, 2008; Willging, 2008). In the resort town of Victoria Falls, most tourists have traditionally opted to eat at the hotels where they lodge. However, with recent entrance of fast food chains, hoteliers, facing the threat of losing market share, have been responding to the changing competitive forces. Victoria Falls has become a ‘slow food versus fast food’ battleground. The main aim of this paper is to explore how the contemporary slow food– fast food...
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