Customers are "extremely satisfied" with the fast food restaurants they visit because they deliver on their customers’ expectations of value and service, according to a new survey by The South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi).

The SAcsi Fast Food Survey for 2016 was topped by Debonairs, where its pizza customers were the most satisfied with this fast food restaurant with a high score of 85.0 out of a possible 100.

But generally fast food restaurants were well liked by those surveyed with just six points separating the top and bottom restaurants.

The industry average score was 82.2, with Nando’s and McDonald’s ahead of the industry average scoring 83.8 and 83.2 respectively. KFC, Chicken Licken and Steers were slightly below the average score.

How they scored:


-in 2015 -in 2016
1Debonairs81.185.0
2Nando’s83.083.8
3McDonald’s80.183.2

Average82.082.2
4KFC82.882.2
5Other81.8
6Chicken Licken83.081.1
7Steers81.279.6


In a statement SAcsi said: "The 2016 SAcsi for Fast Food Restaurants benchmarks customer satisfaction through an internationally recognised model to achieve an overall result out of 100. The Index provides a weighted average of the various aspects of a customer’s experience with fast food restaurants, and the degree to which their product and service has met, fallen short of, or exceeded expectations."

Prof Adré Schreuder, CEO of Consulta, which is responsible for the survey said: “Cash-strapped South Africans will choose a fast food brand that offers excellent value for money without sacrificing quality. They will not dig deeper into their pockets unless they believe that the quality justifies the price. Fast food restaurants that deliver value without sacrificing quality scored well, even in this challenging economic climate.”

In terms of value, Debonairs Pizza’s customers have expressed the highest perceived value score of 85.2, followed by KFC, Chicken Licken (both 83.1) and McDonald’s (82.4). The Index reflects that Debonairs Pizza’s customers clearly believe they receive the best value for money as they indicated the highest value in both categories of perceived value – the quality received for the price paid for their food and the price they paid for the quality of the food.

The perceived value industry average was 82.2, with Nando’s (80.8) and Steers (78.9) scoring below par. This should be of concern to Nando’s since its overall position does not correlate with the lower value score in this section.

“Due to the expansion of the industry and the entrance of international brands like Burger King and Domino’s Pizza, customers are spoilt for choice and can afford to be more discerning,” he says.

Demand for value and service is reflected in the complaints about South African fast food restaurants, as the most common complaints relate to the accuracy of orders, speed and quality of service and the price of selected items.

Customers perception of a brand is often viewed through the lens of how complaints are managed. McDonalds customers rated them the lowest for complaints management with a very low score of 9.4%. On the other hand, Nando’s customers indicated that their complaints were well managed, with a score of 71.3, well above the industry average of 54.9.

“South Africans are typically quite reluctant to complain about service or quality because they feel that no lasting change will occur,” he explains. “Social media is making it easier for customers to express their concerns, and the brands that embrace this opportunity to engage with their customers are likely to see improvement in their scores over the next year.”

The SAcsi for Fast Food Restaurants includes a Net Promoter Score (NPS) that measures the percentage of customers who would recommend a fast food restaurant to their family and friends minus the percentage of those with a low likelihood to recommend (called detractors).

Debonairs Pizza’s NPS is a very positive 65%, compared to 56% for KFC, both above the industry average of 50%. Falling below the industry average is Nando’s at 49%, Chicken Licken and McDonald’s at 44%, and Steers with a concerning 35%.

“New fast food brands that launch in South Africa may enjoy long queues for a while, but research suggests that in the current economic climate, South Africans only visit a fast food restaurant once a week. In the long-term, customers will remain loyal to restaurants that offer the best quality and value for money,” Prof. Schreuder says.

Across the SAcsi industries surveyed by Consulta this year, some of the highest scores – and therefore, greatest customer satisfaction – is in the fast food industry. The highest score recorded in the 2016 SAcsi for Restaurants’ for example, was 78.6.

The full SAcsi for Fast Food Restaurants report and other SAcsi reports are available from Consulta.

RETURN TO INDUSTRY NEWS