Chains battle to appease disgruntled punters

Leicester Square

The top branded restaurant chains face a “tug of war” over customer loyalty due to the volume of customers that come away from their restaurant visit unhappy.

A national survey conducted by Market Force Information reveals that an average of one in five customers is dissatisfied with a recent restaurant visit, leaving operators battling to win customer loyalty.

It polled more than 4,500 people earlier this year and found that on average consumers frequent a fast-service restaurant at least twice a month.

Customers were asked to rate their satisfaction with their last experience at a given restaurant and their likelihood to recommend it to others. The data was averaged to rate each restaurant brand on a Composite Loyalty Index.

At the top end of the scale, the index highlights hot competition between six brands in the sandwich, chicken, Italian and pizza categories. Bella Italia, Nando’s, Pizza Express, Pret A Manger, and Frankie and Benny’s are nearly tied in ability to deliver high satisfying experiences that result in high recommendation ratings.

When asked to rate satisfaction with the critical drivers, consumers had relatively high ratings for service, food quality and speed of service, but had opportunities to improve on value and availability of healthy food options; this provides opportunity to steal wallet share.

When restaurants execute on at least five of the critical drivers, 91% of consumers will recommend the brand, compared to a 25% recommendation rating when restaurants execute on only one of the critical drivers.

Consumers rated how well each brand delivered on the critical drivers. Prêt à Manger led on three of the eight drivers, including speed of service, food quality, and healthy food options.

Bella Italia led on friendly service and Frankie and Benny’s on providing a great atmosphere. Market Force Information says the mix of leaders across the various critical drivers reflects the tough competition in the space and why so many brands are tied on the composite loyalty index.

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