The latest South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) for Restaurants indicates that South Africans are highly satisfied with local restaurant brands, with Ocean Basket topping the list.
Ocean Basket’s customers are the most satisfied customers with a score of 78.6 in the rankings, followed by Wimpy on 77.8. Both of these restaurants rated on par with the industry average of 77.6 out of 100. Spur and Mugg & Bean received below average scores of on 77.0 and 75.7 respectively.
Consulta, the independent research company that compiled the index, surveyed just fewer than 1500 randomly selected customers of Mugg & Bean, Ocean Basket, Spur, Wimpy and other local restaurant brands. The research is conducted independently, without sponsorship from any of the brands, offering impartial insights into the full-service, sit down franchise restaurant industry in South Africa.
Comparing customer satisfaction for restaurants internationally, the recently published results of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) for Restaurants show overall satisfaction of American consumers to be 81. This is 3.4 higher than the South African average (77.6).
“South African restaurant goers have really high expectations from the franchise restaurants they visit. Excellent value for money, top quality food, quick service and a great overall experience are usually on the menu of demands,” says Prof Adré Schreuder, CEO of Consulta. “If a restaurant can provide all of these, it will score well on the SAcsi.”
The 2016 SAcsi for Restaurants benchmarks and blends a Customer Expectations Index, a Service Quality Index, a Product Quality Index, a Perceived Value Index and a Perceived Quality Index to achieve an overall result out of 100. The SAcsi provides a weighted average of the various aspects of a customer’s experience with a brand, the degree to which the product or service has met, fallen short of or exceeded their expectations, and how well it compares to the respondents’ ideal of what they anticipate their experience to be.
Ocean Basket customers have the highest customer expectation, a measure of the customer’s anticipation of the quality of a company’s products or services, with an overall expectation of 80.4 out of 100, slightly exceeding the industry average of 80.0. Spur, Mugg & Bean and Wimpy expectations were in the same range (from 80.3 to 79.7).
The rise of social media and greater access to online news and information has made customers more aware of food and service trends globally, leading to a rise in customer expectations.
“Restaurants have ever-higher standards to live up to, as consumers have become far more knowledgeable about food through shows such as MasterChef, popular cooking and food blogs, social media and South Africa’s own personality chefs and their globally recognised restaurants,” says Prof Schreuder.
“Ocean Basket has tapped into these popular trends, offering new menu items such as tapas-style food, more grilled options and salad and vegetable sides, while its new Mediterranean sushi menu offers broad family appeal. Ocean Basket’s consistency over the last three years has yielded great results for the brand in 2016.”
Perceived quality of service
In terms of measuring customers’ expectations of service quality, Ocean Basket again led the pack with a score of 82.8 followed by Spur with 82.3, Wimpy with 81.9, and Mugg & Bean with 79.8. The industry average in this category was 80.0.
“Customers inevitably compare the service and product that they experience with what they have come to expect from previous experiences at a restaurant, along with what the brand has promised in its communications. It is worth noting that while there is a range of scores across all four brands, they are all still relatively close to the industry standard of 80.0, demonstrating that their service quality is on par with what South Africans expect.”
Perceived quality of products
The product quality index measures a customer’s satisfaction of their recent experience at a restaurant and is measured in terms of both customization and reliability.
Compared to the industry average score of 82.5, Ocean Basket and Wimpy both scored 82.7, followed closely by Spur. Mugg & Bean lagged its competitors and the industry average in this criterion.
Perceived value directly influences a customer’s satisfaction and whether he or she will return to a particular brand in the future. Ocean Basket is perceived to offer the greatest value and leads with a score of 79.4, compared to the industry average of 77.6. Wimpy scored on par with the industry average, while both Mugg & Bean and Spur fell short of the industry average.
It is important to note that although perceived value is of great importance for an initial purchase decision, the impact typically diminishes for repeat purchases.
Future likelihood to recommend
When asked whether customers were likely to recommend a particular brand to their family and friends, the popular metric used in this criterion is the Net Promoter Score. The Net Promoter Score for Ocean Basket was 36.7%, which led its closest competitor (Spur) in this aspect by more than 5%.
The index further reveals several overarching trends, including that South African restaurant goers are increasingly choosing outlets that offer meals made from locally sourced ingredients and that they want to know the nutritional data about the food they order.
“Customers are increasingly expecting menu options that meet the demands of their personalised Banting, vegan or other specialised eating regimes. ‘Grazing’ a selection of smaller portions is also an increasingly popular choice that gives patrons the opportunity to enjoy more than one dish per visit,” concludes Prof Schreuder.