Spur has been identified as South Africa's leading restaurant brand. This is according to a survey of South African restaurant customers conducted by Acentric Marketing Research (Pty) LTD. Spur was closely followed by McDonald's, Ocean Basket, Mugg and Bean, and Wimpy. In total 45 brands were evaluated in the survey, with customers evaluating each of the brands on a broad range of attributes (see technical note). The survey was conducted online in November 2014 and is representative of restaurant customers with household incomes in excess of R5,000.
Each brand was ranked according to its Acentric Brand Model (ABM) Index, a measure of customer-based-brand equity. The index combines 17 attributes; covering product, service, functionality, value for money, brand image and enjoyment. Brand equity is important as it correlates with a brand's share of customers in the market.
Spur, excelled on child friendliness, enjoyable experiences and good interior design. Runner up McDonald's excelled in terms of child friendliness, fast service and good locations.
Overall customers considered quality food to be one of the most important attributes. "While not one of Spur's top listed strengths, the restaurant's still performed well enough in this area; and when combined with its outstanding performance in other areas, it excels as a brand. As for the other brands, it appears there is substantial variation in perceptions of food quality. Woolworths was one of the top performers in this area." says Craig Kolb, MD of Acentric.
In addition to food quality considerations, there is a global trend towards customers demanding healthier menu options. Perceptions of an unhealthy menu seem to have afflicted certain restaurant chains, with certain celebrities becoming embroiled in debates over food health. "As a result, perceptions of food health were measured this year. While food health isn't the worst performing attribute on average, there is extensive variation in performance by brand. Kauai was one of the stronger brands in this area, but oddly Woolworths did not feature as strongly as expected. Differences also exist by demographic - for instance gluten/grain concerns are foremost in higher-income households. It is a concern, that even amongst expensive chains, gluten is hard to avoid." says Kolb.
Cleanliness was also very important to customers. "While in general, restaurants were perceived to perform well on the cleanliness attribute, there is again substantial variation brand to brand. Vida e Café did well in this area as did Europa." says Kolb.
The research also quantified the frequency of general annoyances – not linked to any specific brand. Besides hygiene, rude waiters and staff who talk loudly are an issue. "Interestingly there are significant differences between segments when it comes to what is considered annoying. For instance, eye contact is more of an issue for certain age groups, while some segments are significantly more likely to take issue with waiters who stand in close proximity when tips are calculated. Bad cell phone reception and order confusion sensitivity is also group specific." says Kolb.
A detailed report titled "South African Restaurant Brands Report 2015" is available to purchase at: www.acentric.co.za
Technical noteThe survey was conducted using an ISO certified online-panel of 363 restaurant customers yielding a margin of error of +-5.1% at 95% confidence level. Respondents were weighted to approximately represent middle and upper income customers in terms of age, gender, race and ethnic group.