Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Publication Title

International Journal of Hospitality Management


Management, Marketing and Business Administration


Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business


Restaurant-to-consumer food delivery has experienced disruption with the growth of third-party services such as DoorDash and Uber Eats. However, this platform-to-consumer delivery method introduces increased opportunities for food tampering and contamination due to additional touchpoints in the delivery process. To mitigate these concerns, more restaurants are implementing tamper-evident closures such as seals attached to the food containers used for delivery items. Drawing on signaling theory, we examine the effect of tamper-evident closures in the third-party delivery context through two experimental studies and a focus group. Our results revealed a negative effect of tamper-evident seals on willingness to pay through lowered food quality evaluations, suggesting the seal sends contamination signals rather than the intended message of food safety. This negative effect appears robust for both food and beverages. We also demonstrate that consumers’ food safety risk perception (FSRP) acts as a boundary condition, attenuating the negative indirect effect for high-FSRP consumers.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of a peer-reviewed article published by Elsevier in International Journal of Hospitality Management, available at



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