SA restaurant brands build on the high customer satisfaction of fast food

SA customers of full service restaurants are among the most satisfied customers in the world, according to the South African Customer Satisfaction Index released today.

The SAcsi surveyed 1788 customers of Mugg & Bean, Ocean Basket, Spur, Wimpy and other restaurants, who gave the industry an overall satisfaction score of 82.4 out of 100. Wimpy took the leadership position with a score of 83.6 out of 100. Mugg & Bean, Ocean Basket and the “other” category scored on par with the overall industry score. Spur’s overall score was below par at 81 out of 100.

The overall industry score in South Africa compares favourably with the US (82 out of 100), UK (76 out of 100) and South Korea (74 out of 100).
Wimpy’s standing has improved substantially over the past three years, considering that in 2013 Wimpy was given a below average score by its customers. This year, customers named Wimpy as most ideal for their needs and the brand scored highest in the area of the price/quality relationship, which means that its customers are happy with the quality they are receiving for the price paid; and happy with the price they are paying for the quality they receive.

“All of the surveyed brands scored well in the area of delivery on their customers’ expectations. As part of this aspect of the index, we look at reliability – how reliable is the experience for the customer? Wimpy’s reliability scores were high, probably also influenced by the brand’s market share and accessibility as a brand,” says Prof. Adré Schreuder, founder of SAcsi and CEO of Consulta.

Spur customers gave the brand low reliability scores, whereas Ocean Basket customers apparently expect the most from the brand, which Prof. Schreuder says may be linked to the notion that seafood as a food category is expected to be of a high quality.

“There are some interesting new trends in full service restaurants, including changes to menus to provide more nutritional information and alternative options in line with diet trends. Many restaurants are now online and offering home delivery. Local culinary traditions and locally produced ingredients are becoming more prominent,” explains Prof. Schreuder.

Ocean Basket, for example, publishes the Sustainable Seafood Index in its outlets and provides much more detail on the seafood on its menu than ever before.

“There are a number of wildly popular TV food shows. As a result, customers are demanding greater innovation and sophistication, but the index is showing us that simpler restaurant concepts score better in terms of reliability. A Hollandaise sauce, for example, is more difficult to replicate with little deviation amongst the various outlets than simpler food concepts, which may be a factor in the lower reliability scores of a brand like Mugg & Bean compared to a brand like Wimpy,” says Prof. Schreuder.

The overall SAcsi score also aligns with the Net Promoter Score (NPS) for full service restaurants (NPS describes the likelihood of customers to recommend a particular brand). The industry average NPS was 61%. Individual scores were as follows: Wimpy 63%, 67% for the “Other” category (that represents a combination of smaller full service restaurant brands), Spur 59%, Ocean Basket 58% and Mugg & Bean 56%.

Consulta reports an anecdotal correlation between this score and its findings on social media platforms. “Spur had the highest number of mentions on HalloPeter at one point, with over 1200 mentions compared to between 300 and 700 for the other brands,” says Prof. Schreuder.

A telling factor in the SAcsi measurement of customer satisfaction is complaints. About 8.6% of the sample reported complaints overall, with Spur getting the highest percentage of complaints at 10.5% of customers followed by Mugg & Bean at 10.2%. Interestingly, Spur scored well in terms of complaints handling – those customers who did have a complaint were generally happy with the way in which they resolved. “Spur is ensuring that 83.5% of complaints are resolved to the customer’s satisfaction. This industry has scored well overall in terms of complaints handling but I would urge all the brands to take a closer look at improving quality and service to lower the level of complaints,” says Prof. Schreuder.

About the research methodology

SAcsi is an independent index executed under the ACSI license by Consulta Research (Pty) Ltd. As such, no specific sponsor or client commissioned this survey. Consulta releases monthly SAcsi reports 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.