“It’s on its way”: chatbots applied for online food delivery services, social or task-oriented interaction style?

Roberta de Cicco*, Susana Cristina Lima da Costa e Silva, Francesca Romana Alparone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Research has yet to explore the spread of chatbots into the foodservice delivery sector and its impact on the customer’s experience, especially in a moment when the Internet seems to be the tool to meet needs associated with being physically apart. In order to fill this gap, the present study addresses the implications that chatbots’ interaction styles have for younger consumers using this channel for conversational online food delivery (OFD) services. Specifically, this study provides theoretical and practical insights into whether the conversational design of chatbots can influence social, affective, and behavioral intent outcomes. The study adopts an experimental design to investigate the effects of a social- versus task-oriented interaction style chatbot on the level of social presence and trust (social outcomes), perceived enjoyment (affective outcome), and intention to use the conversational OFD service in the future (behavioral intent outcome). Findings from a sample of 171 participants show that the interaction with the chatbot set up with a social-oriented interaction style increased users’ perception of social presence and perceived enjoyment, while it did not have any direct and significant effect on trust and intention to use. The study further supports the role of social presence, trust, and perceived enjoyment as mediators between the chatbot’s interaction style and the intention to use the conversational OFD service.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-164
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Foodservice Business Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Chatbot
  • Intention to use
  • Interaction style
  • Online food delivery service
  • Perceived enjoyment
  • Social presence
  • Trust


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