/ SAcsi

Consumers agree: SA fast food brands are pretty good

SA fast food customers have given the industry the highest satisfaction score in three years in the latest South African Customer Satisfaction Index released today. At 82 out of 100, the score is higher than the US and UK benchmarks of 80 and 77 out of 100 respectively.

The brands included in the survey were Nandos (83) Chicken Licken (83), KFC (82.8), Steers (81.2), Debonairs (81.1), MacDonalds (80.1) and FishAways (78.3). With the exception of MacDonalds and FishAways (whose scores were below par) SA fast food brands scored on par with the overall industry average. The highest scores were given to Nandos and Chicken Licken.

The sample size for the industry survey was 3300 with the smallest sample size per brand at 330 respondents. Over 45% of the total sample surveyed chose fast food outlets associated with chicken (Nandos, Chicken Licken and KFC) illustrating SA’s ongoing love for chicken.

While Nandos maintained its score this year, competing brands showed greater improvement. Although Chicken Licken’s customers expressed a significantly lower satisfaction in 2014 than in 2013, the brand received a significantly higher SAcsi Index score, to the extent that it matched Nandos’ score this year.

Customers of McDonalds expressed declining satisfaction with the brand last year, but this has remained constant. Only KFC’s customers deem their experience as ideal, which correlates with the survey’s findings that KFC provides the best value for money in the eyes of its customers.

Prof. Adré Schreuder, founder of SAcsi and CEO of Consulta, says that while price has always been an advantage for fast food, improved quality and variety have helped push satisfaction to higher levels. “Looking at the SAcsi measure of expectations compared to delivery on quality, it is telling that for the first time since 2013, fast food brands are delivering on their customers’ expectations and perceived quality,” he says.

With the exception of Debonairs, each of the brands has reported higher scores in overall perceived quality. Nandos has the highest score and KFC reports a significant increase in overall quality from 79.9 in 2014 to 84.9 this year.

Customer expectations are 3.3 points higher than last year. “Consumers are more aware about food and trends and we are seeing trends in the form of healthier options like grilled meals, sustainability issues (green practices, provision of nutritional information) and smaller portion sizes. Fast food customers are looking for simple but real food, that triggers a memory and creates an experience – while being quick and affordable,” explains Prof. Schreuder.

The higher SAcsi score also aligns with the Net Promoter Score (NPS) for fast food (NPS describes the likelihood of customers to recommend a particular brand). Overall NPS scores have increased to 49.1%, indicating that South Africans are becoming more likely to recommend their fast food brands. Despite emerging as NPS leader last year, Debonairs scored 11.8% lower than 2014. KFC, on the other hand, increased its NPS score by 5.1% to 53.1%. The highest NPS score is Nandos, with 57.5% likely to recommend the brand.

SAcsi also looked at complaints as part of measuring customer satisfaction. About 8% of the sample reported complaints overall, with KFC getting the highest percentage of complaints at 11% and Chicken Licken customers with the lowest level of complaints at 3.8%. The twist is that KFC customers were very satisfied with the manner in which complaints were resolved. “KFC is ensuring that 71.9% those customers leave happy, which is so vital in customer satisfaction. Debonairs scored highest, with 80% of customers who registered complaints saying that they are happy with how these were handled. Chicken Licken had a low incidence of complaints but 66.7% of those who did complain were not happy with how these were resolved,” says Prof. Schreuder.

About the research methodology

SAcsi is an independent index. As such, no specific sponsor or client commissioned this survey. SAcsi releases monthly satisfaction indices to provide a national economic indicator of customer satisfaction with the quality of products and services available to household consumers in South Africa. Subscribing members have access to the full results. Companies are selected for inclusion based on market share and the random sample includes a minimum of 270 respondents per company.