The Traditional Culinary Business Via Online And Changes Of Human Behavior


Anthropology follows the cultural sustainability of traditional culinary, which is now experiencing many changes with digital technology. This research was conducted to seek the effects of technology on the traditional culinary business. A Science Technology and Society (STS) Approach was implemented to collect data on the use of digital technology for traditional culinary of North Sumatra Province of Indonesia. With a Multi-sited Ethnography technique this study administered as many as 60 questionnaires to find the use of local gastronomy of traditional culinary restaurants which have been attached to online system in marketing and delivery food. To obtained the deep understanding of human behaviour changes in food orders via online, an observation also implemented. Data showed that the online system affected the increase of cafes and restaurants around Medan Municipality of North Sumatra and direct apps of food commerce, and potential local food for global tourism. The data of accessible culinary business from 2016-2018 in North Sumatra showed the gteat growth, together with the menus creation and transaction of cafes and restaurants it found doubled with direct apps. It concluded that in three towns of North Sumatra (Medan, Binjai, and Tanjung Mowara), the human behaviour based on the anthropology of local food of North Sumatra has changed due to the use of direct apps.

Keywords: Online systemethnic foodhuman behaviorculinary


Anthropology of local culinary studies the human behaviour in the food system. Now the food marketing and delivery experience the changes due to the technology revolution. This study was carried out to seek the data of the internet users for traditional culinary of ethnic food. It notes that food promotion and transaction have been affected by a technology application. As a result, the gastronomy and culinary products and services change human behaviour. Many research reports revealed the increase of the internet of things (IoT) for food marketing and delivery in urban areas ( Hays, Page, & Buhalis, 2013; Bortolato, 2018). Ying-Chuan ( 2015) reported a significant effect of e-WOM culinary promotion to increase the better image of culinary tourism in Macau. In 2015 UNTWO predicted the growth of culinary businesses climbing up if many tourists come to enjoy the local cuisines ( Ali, 2015). The culinary tourism ( Long, 2004) begins from the improve cultural innovation in gastronomy and marketing strategies by applying a new technology.

Anthropology studies on human behaviour note that food marketing and delivery which use the information technology in Indonesia make many creations and innovations. Therefore, the use of internet in forms of direct apps, social media and online food tend to create new shapes, the cafes and restaurant business and multiply in many cities and towns in Indonesia. In concerning with the food technology and smartphone applications, this research was design to seek the impacts of food system devices in society widely. Not only the cultural behaviour of food and beverage (F&B) providers that changed but also the social interactions among buyers and advertisement managers. Presenting the new changes of food and beverage orders and delivery in North Sumatra which enhanced by the systems of information and communication involved the potential of gastronomic wealth and strategy of food reinvention process and online-based culinary, this study put forward an assumption that North Sumatra's local gastronomy that evolved into online-based culinary contributed significantly to the growth of the national tourism industry ( Matondang, 2016; Matondang & Butsi, 2016). The positive growth of the culinary sector in North Sumatra after the technology application is widely used to cultural innovation in gastronomy and marketing food and smooth delivery.

Antropology of food technology and communication application led this research to make a survey and observation techniques; they were applied to explore the phenomenon of social changes in the food system. Data were collected from the Small Medium Entreprises (SMEs) which link to the online culinary system since 2016, and they offer the local food with the new direct apps. Digital food system results in the behaviour changes of buyers. For surveying the adoption of e-commerce in the culinary sector, this study fieldwork used three indicators of culinary activities of SMEs; they were: (1). traditional culinary transformational process (2) direct apps for food commerce, and (3). North Sumatra’s potential culinary for global tourism.

Problem Statement

The use of direct apps for transformational process of ethnic food in North Sumatra Province of Indonesia makes a new trend and human behaviour changes. This paper sought the transformational traditional culinary though e-commerce food.

Research Questions

Regarding the wealth and local gastronomic reinvention of North Sumatra and the growth of online-based culinary, this study has a statement of the problem: "Does the traditional food with a new platform system increase the invented ethnic food for culinary business and change the providers and buyers behaviours in Anthropology of food system ?"

Purpose of the Study

This Antropology study on ethnic food has two aims; first, to survey the potential in North Sumatra; next is to determine the culinary business growth after joining the digital marketing and delivery systems with direct applications.

Research Methods

This research applied the Science, Technology and Society (STS) Approach ( Woodhouse, 2014; Bibri, 2015). The STS implementation was made due to the Social Construction factor of culinary business with direct apps. Furthermore, the observation technique of the culinary industry and in-depth interviews with online-based culinary owners were carried out in North Sumatra. A Multi-sited Ethnography technique was conducted (Marcus, 1995, 1998) to follow the history of traditional culinary business in three areas (Medan, Binjai, and Deli Serdang of North Sumatra in Indonesia). Following the Science Technology and Society (STS) model, this research focused on the online platform traditional food which affected a new cultural behaviour and its connection to direct apps in the society was sought.


The role of application technology in the form of e-commerce in which Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) market and delivery the orders in the online platform is revealed by the responses of owners and food handlers in three places in North Sumatra. Surveys and data from the ethnographic fieldwork in North Sumatra obtained indicated that Information technology is used in various applications to market and delivery the food.

Local cuisine business in Medan, Binjai and Deli Serdang of Indonesia use a lot of information technology devices to develop the food services. The online platform for traditional culinary development consists of websites and social media; many SMEs are integrated with online transportation operators (Go Jeck and Grab). Such interactive food webs take the costumers' attention and willing to order. Following Bortolato ( 2018) study, the concept of digital marketing for food companies in Italy has shown the fast. Moreover, the findings showed the local vendors in North Sumatra of North Sumatra revealed that a number of cafes and restaurants made invention of food products and their growth have been duubled in two three years (2016, 2017, and 2018). Furthermore, it found the incredible growth of the culinary market in Medan Municipality since 2014 ( Sembiring, 2016) where the local food is generated to fusion cuisines in the culinary business. Food and local identity integrated into the modern culinary system. In addition to that, Guptill et al. ( 2017) stated that food is identity. Surveys of 60 SMEs which provide the local food in the cafes and restaurants reported the multi benefit the use of digital food markerting and delivery system.

Data obtained showed the human behavior changes due to direct apps in ordering the local food. Those changes appearing after the extensive usage of the online system by the cafes and restaurants. It makes buyers are more comfortable and faster to get food at homes, offices, and other places. The online go food menu offers some traditional Sumatran foods such as Soto Medan, Lontong Medan . Those two favourite menus are quickly ordered. Based on a variety of flavours, and prices, the preferences of costumers are fulfilled with fingers touching. Some foreign tourists also at Medan Amaliun Food Court said that online technology had made convenience and comfort in finding traditional culinary in the city of Medan.

Multi-ethnic of North Sumatra is blessed with rich of local culinary and brought the great variety of ethnic food. Additionally, the food management with meeting biological needs, identity, prestige, aesthetics, rituals, taboos (halal), power and technology (civilization of each nation). Traditional food as a cultural identity has been a social reality; it is constructed in a plural society of North Sumatra.


Data analyses gives two conclusions:

The growth of food providers (cafes and restaurants) with direct apps has made the invented culture of ethnic food via online system in three areas of North Sumatra Province of Indonesia. The online go food menu offers some traditional Sumatran foods, such as Soto Medan, Lontong Medan . Buyers find it easy to order local food. Based on a variety of flavours and prices online menus, it results in the buyers no need to come to restaurants and cafes. Secondly, irect apps make the human behaviour changes appeared due to the increase of buyers who use devices to choose and order the local and blended food and drinks from their locations.


We acknowledge that this Ethnography Study is sponsor by the Research Grant of the Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education of Indonesia 2019-2020.


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30 March 2020

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Business, innovation, sustainability, development studies

Cite this article as:

Matondang, S. A., Rahma, S., Haramain, T., & Syahlan, S. (2020). The Traditional Culinary Business Via Online And Changes Of Human Behavior. In N. Baba Rahim (Ed.), Multidisciplinary Research as Agent of Change for Industrial Revolution 4.0, vol 81. (pp. 608-612). European Publisher.