Customer behavior is a much stronger predictor of an establishment’s future relationship with a customer than demographic information ever will be. An organization just have to look at the data gathered, the record and resulting trend of the customers’ behavior, and it will certainly tell you a lot of things. (jimnovo.com)
This type of analysis is relatively important for the long term as it helps identify future trends that will aid organizations tailoring their future strategies based on this information. Customer behavior profiling is critical to a company interested in keeping customers and increasing their value.
Chart 1. Restaurant Visits
Most of the diners sampled on both stores, most of them visits restaurants on a regular basis, at least once every fortnight. This shows that British diners really love eating out. This is a great opportunity for Nando’s and other restaurants; however, it can be a big challenge to win them over as they are spoilt with a lot of options. Based from the Office of National Statistics Social Trends 2009, spending on going to restaurants and hotels comes fourth on the average household spending, next to housing, water and fuel, transport and recreation. The volume of spending closely followed the growth pattern in gross domestic product and household income. (Social Trends 39: 2009 Edition) It shows that restaurants inevitably fare well through any impending recession.
The succeeding charts will pertain specifically to Nando’s’ performance which defines customer’s behavior and influences their insights and views.
Chart 2. Food Selection
The table above shows a bit of a mixed views. The flame grilled peri peri Nando’s chicken is with no doubt very delicious, however, that is the only thing that really stands out. There are burgers and salads on the menu, but the again, it is not “authentically Nando’s” as they do not have peri peri, which differentiates Nando’s from the others. Others argued that the food selection is good because you get to choose the spice level and/or flavor of your chicken. Nevertheless, the one third of the respondents who marked Nando’s below good said that there is no “vegeterian peri peri” option on the menu. The said menu did not seem to have thought about vegetarians, they said. They even went on suggesting having a peri peri veggie dish – flame grilled mixed vegetables in a skewer. It is then an opportunity for Nando’s to re-think their product development strategy and could possibly incorporate this rather practical and feasible suggestion of their customers.
Chart 3. Food quality
Food quality is certainly at the top of Nando’s ethos, and they really got it correct, based on the chart above. Majority of the customers questioned thought that the food is fantastic. They said that the chicken was beautifully flavoured. Besides that fact that it is delicious, they also found it very healthy as it is flame grilled not deep fried. After eating at Nando’s customers said that it made them feel good. There is that emphasis on healthful eating and that Nando’s was able to fuse health, convenience, and taste superbly. As what Hume said, Nando’s is about being the best in what they do, but not about being the biggest. The strategy here shows that it is about good quality food – just letting the food do the talking.
Chart 1.Speed of Service
This chart is a very interesting one. Speed of service is just average. When the diners were asked about why they just said average, they said that the timing was perfect. Food service was neither very quick nor slow, which is good. Meaning the waiting time was ideal as they do not want their food to be coming in a flash. On the other hand, they do not want to wait for very long as well because it will make them starve. The queue at the till sometimes can be long on a busy night, the regulars said. This sometimes can be uncomfortable, they said, considering that they are hungry too and they will have to stand in a queue to place their orders. The diners pointed out that it would have been more convenient if they were to wait by their table and have their orders taken from there.
Chart 5. Friendliness of Service
The diners confessed that one of the reasons they come back to Nando’s is the friendly staff. As soon as they get in to the restaurant, they are always warmly greeted by a staff which feels very welcoming. Another good point is when they ask if you have been to Nando’s before and if not they will teach you how it actually works – from their menu, table number, cutleries and their ordering system. Most diners find this very helpful and attentiveness. The only downside they said is that it is not being followed through consistently during their meal, probably because it is not a waiter served restaurant. Even so, the servers could have been more attentive during the meal, too, they recommended, where they will be ready any time in case some assistance is needed. Then again, the diners realized that probably the staffs are just there mainly to clear and clean tables ready for the next guests to arrive. The overall experience, nonetheless, has been great – very relaxed and casual.
Chart 6. Atmosphere / Decor
Again, nearly the same results as Nando’s friendliness of service, the stores’ atmosphere and decor scored highly with not even one of its diners voting it as poor. The majority of the diners praised highly Nando’s decor. They said that they feel good every time they eat at Nando’s because there is a sense of “homeliness” to the place. Every restaurant feels so cosy yet sophisticated. Every detail of the decor seems to have been intricately thought of – from the wall paint colour, the lights, seats, down to its restrooms. The whole ambience has that sense of community that is why they often come back as testified by the 22 returning customers who answered either very good or excellent on the above questionnaire. Nine (9) of the respondents replied fair and good because for the price they pay for the food, they strongly believe that it is imperative for Nando’s to make the ambience feel good, so they get that extra “value” they paid for.
Chart 7. Value for Money
This chart is a very interesting one and revealed what Nando’s diners thought of its pricing strategy taken every other factor into account. Generally, the diners ticked either priced just right or a little expensive. Although half of the respondents have no problems with Nando’s’ pricing, still, nearly half of them as well said their product seems to be a little bit pricey.
When the diners, who found that Nando’s is a good value for money, were asked as to why they said so, they replied that considering everything into account (food quality, service, and ambience), they thought that it was reasonably priced. The other diners, though, considered it as a little expensive, but not really much, because they said it is just a simple dish and there is nothing far special about it. Moreover, the menu does not offer much variety. It is the decor and ambience that you actually pay for, they added. Certainly, there has been mixed views on this issue.
Chart 8. How Did You Hear About Nandos?
Forty percent (40%) of the customers questioned were repeat customers, which is comparatively good. When the regulars were asked if they have noticed any Nando’s advertisements in any form of media, they all startlingly said never. They said that the main motivating factors of them coming back to Nando’s’are the peri peri chicken, speed and warm atmosphere. Half of the new diners heard about Nando’s through personal recommendations from friends, family, and relatives. It is rather interesting to know that there is very few of the respondents who actually have heard about Nando’s through any form of media. Furthermore, twenty percent (20%) of the diners simply just walked in. They felt hungry, saw the buzz from the outside of the restaurant and found the restaurant looking good, so they decided to go in. Chicken, after all, is a very safe food, so however it tastes, they are certain they would not regret it. True enough, when asked if they have enjoyed their meal, all of them replied with a resounding yes.
Chart 9. Have you ever been influenced by marketing activities and/or advertisements in deciding whether to visit a restaurant or any establishment for that matter?
Relating to the previous response regarding how the customers have heard about Nando’s, none of the respondents has ever seen any Nando’s advertisement. It is very interesting to know, judging by the results illustrated above, that most of the diners sampled are highly influenced by marketing activities and advertisements. They said that most of the times, they do not necessarily realize that they are indeed drawn to a product or service mainly because of its image and brand portrayed and communicated by advertisements. Most of them explained that through these marketing activities, they are able to familiarize themselves about the product and understand the product or brand even more. Thus, it clarifies what it is offering and how these offerings complement and fill their needs and preferences.
Chart 10. Will You Come and Visit Nando’s Again?
Now, this is the most important questions of all on the questionnaire; how many of the diners felt that it was worth coming back to Nando’s? Impressively eighty percent (80%) said yes, while fourteen percent (14%) said maybe, and the remaining surprisingly said no. The majority said they will come back because the food is nice while the others said that everything was brilliant. The maybe diners said so because they said that they cannot eat chicken loads of times. If Nando’s offers other meat products with peri peri sauce as well, then, they might be tempted to come back. They merely wanted variety on the menu, something interesting and revolutionary – could be a new product or a new cooking or marinade concept. It was the reluctant to come back customers that were very intriguing. They replied as such because of the minimal variety of dishes that Nando’s offers. When they come as a group, not everyone fancy having chicken, so these people will be forced to order the same as that is the only type of meat available, and in effect, may not enjoy their meal. It is very awkward to be enjoying your meal while the others are not, they argued. They would rather to go to a place where nearly all their preferences are catered for. If it was just for a relaxing, quick and no fuss meal, then they will come back to Nando’s, for other dining reasons, no.
STAFF / EMPLOYEE’S VIEWS
One of the important stakeholders of Nando’s is their employees. In some restaurants, they consider their staff as the most important asset of their organization. Thus it is important to hear their views and know about their expectations about Nando’s as their employer. It is always said that if the staff loves and enjoys their job and if they are content with what they do, these attitudes exudes a positive vibe towards the customers, which therefore affects a customer’s overall dining experience. It is then significant to make sure that the staff are well looked after, and are satisfied with their job. That is why getting the whole impression of the restaurant in the view of the Nando’s’ employees or staff is vital. Thus, a questionnaire or survey was handed out for the staff to fill in. They were briefed about it so that only the most honest and truthful replies will be gathered.
Discussed then below is the summary of the employees’ responses on the questionnaire and interviews. For easier understanding and view, the employees’ replies are charted as well. It is very evident, as shown on the chart, that majority of the Nando’s staff strongly believe and support Nando’s’ ethos and “way of life”.
As clearly charted above, majority of the staff either agree or strongly agree with how Nando’s manages its staff. It is very impressive to see that no one of its staff responded negatively on any of the questions. The only question that had a bit of its staff “just agreeing” to it is the continuous feedback system that Nando’s implements, which should be subsequently closely looked at. On closer scrutiny of the replies by doing a bit of an interview with a few chosen staff, an in-depth understanding of how Nando’s handle, manage, and nurture their staff was achieved.
The Nando’s mission is “to always deliver the ‘Nando’s experience’ to our customers”, which is to experience Nando’s traditional hospitality, warmth and fun. (www.jobs.ie) Remarkably, all the staff interviewed was able to state this mission. They do seem to know what their employer is all about. And for them to live up to the mission, they were all given an induction and basic training on what their job entails, and as to how to do it “the Nando’s way”. According to the two managers interviewed, Nando’s recognizes its staff’s hardwork by consistently praising them for their good work and they do some recognition awards as well. In this way, their staff stays motivated, competitive and upbeat about their job. The staffs are happy working within a team. One of them even mentioned about having a “buddy” during their first few days at work. Because of this “buddy system” the new staff will not feel like an outsider and he or she can easily blend in with the group. Besides that, learning the job will be a lot easier and simpler. Nando’s also has appraisals; however, sometimes management seems to forget to do it on a timely basis. Nevertheless, the staffs are regularly praised whenever good work is done. The aspect that most staff really appreciates is the flexibility of their shifts. As most of the staffs are students, whether foreign or local, Nando’s management realizes and understands their priorities and personal issues. Not many restaurants relates to this issue the staff explains. From management down to its floor and back of house staff, Nando’s offers a professional service because they are extremely passionate on what they offer and on what they do.
As a final point, this is actually how Nando’s summarizes the experience of working for them:
“We believe that our continued success is down to our people, which is why our exceptional learning and development opportunities allow everyone to make the most of their true potential. We have a great internal training team offering extensive training programmes to suit each individual. You train how you learn best! Whether it be courses, on the job or coaching. We have programmes to suit all levels. We always aim to exceed the high standards set by the Investors in People initiative – especially as everyone here aims to do more than their best for us.” (www.jobs.ie)
1.3 GENERAL RESEARCH AND READINGS – SWOT ANALYSIS
Several websites were viewed in order to find articles regarding Nando’s’ performance in the industry. The commentaries obtained revealed a lot of things and raised a number of issues about Nando’s – its current position in the market, product differentiation, employee responsibility, social awareness, and even some charitable works.
The information gathered can be best summarized by doing a SWOT analysis, which is a simple yet powerful tool. This will show the internal and external factors that affect Nando’s operations, and eventually provide insights into how the establishment can further shape a sustainable niche in its market.
The following page will show the SWOT analysis prepared for Nando’s. This chart will literally help one uncover the opportunities that Nando’s are very much capable of tapping into. And by understanding the weaknesses, the restaurant can devise a way of controlling it and possibly eventually getting rid of its threats so that it can successfully compete in its market.
SWOT Analysis – Nando’s
A company’s strengths are the positive, internal factors that make it unique and which sets it apart from its competitors. Above, it clearly shows that two of the four P’s of the marketing mix is very well developed by Nandos. The product, flame grilled peri peri chicken, is very much accepted in the market mainly because of its originality. It is highly regarded as unique because of its association to being able to eat something really tasty yet still keeping it healthy. Furthermore, Nando’s is trying to introduce variety by providing a selection of flavors or spice-level to choose from, thus there seems to be something for everyone. And in order to complete the whole dining experience, Nando’s made sure that the staff are well-trained especially in delivering the so-called “Nando’s experience”. Besides that, the company has made an effort to ensure that their restaurants are attractively designed, in such a way that it exudes warmth and homeliness. In order to lure their customers to come back, they also have introduced a loyalty stamp card scheme where regular diners get a stamp mark on their card and once you have reached a particular number of visits, you can get a complimentary chicken meal.
Since Nando’s is essentially classified as a fast food restaurant, some of the customers said that Nando’s tend to be a little pricey, but not overly priced. Customers are naturally responsive when it comes to product prices, more so during this time of recession, they tend to be all the more looking for the best value for their hard earned cash. Another issue that the customers raised is the very limited food selection that Nando’s has – mainly selling chicken only. There is no other meat type available that can be chosen that is flame grilled with their famous peri peri marinade. And same is true with vegetables, there is no flame grilled peri peri vegetarian options being offered. Because of its order of service, where customers are meant to place their own order at the till, there is very less close interaction with the staff and employees. There seems to be no room for quick, first-hand feedback, direct from one of the most important people in the business – the customers.
Looking at how Nando’s is currently operating, there is a host of opportunities waiting for the establishment to take advantage of. These prospects just need a close looking at and fine tuning to fit Nando’s overall business mission, objectives, and culture. With the upcoming 2012 Olympics in London, new commercial spaces will be built in and around London to cater for the vast number of people heading to the capital. Nando’s can possibly secure spaces in these areas, which is a great opportunity to expand. Moreover, with the healthy-eating trend constantly increasing, Nando’s can continuously tap into this market and possibly expand its food variety offering selection for its diners. In line with this, they can then think of new product development. Since some of the Nando’s branches are doing takeaway, it will be good if they will roll it out to each and every branch, and do make extra efforts in making the service known to its customers. With the recession slowly fading away, customers’ spending power will eventually increase and more and more of them will dine out again.
Nando’s and other businesses will always and forever face certain pressures in the running of its establishment. Any business journey is never an easy road; it is always going to be bumpy. These threats should be strongly faced and that businesses should find a way to try to, if not eliminate, at least controllably manage them. In Nando’s case, it is the promotions aspect of the four P’s that really let them down, which has been clearly manifested on the responses of their diners who did the questionnaire. Another threat will be the new entrants in the industry as there have been a number of small restaurant businesses trying to copy the success of Nando’s flame grilled peri peri chicken. Also, some newly opened restaurants are trying to introduce a totally new eating habit that is much healthier and delicious at the same time, apparently trying to get a chunk of the market. On the other hand, big supermarkets are also inching its way to grab a bit of share of the market by offering freshly prepared food and sandwiches and set up small dining areas within its stores. They offer freshly roasted and fried chicken, curries, steaks, pork, and freshly prepared sandwiches.
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