Best and worst fast food brands in SA

Fast food lovers have given the industry the highest satisfaction score in three years in the latest South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi).

At 82 out of 100, the score is higher than the US and UK benchmarks of 80 and 77 out of 100 respectively.

The brands included in the survey were Nandos (83) Chicken Licken (83), KFC (82.8), Steers (81.2), Debonairs (81.1), McDonalds (80.1) and FishAways (78.3).

With the exception of McDonalds and FishAways – which recorded scores below par – local fast food brands scored on par with the overall industry average.

Nandos and Chicken Licken scored the highest among the brands surveyed.

The sample size for the industry survey was 3,300 with the smallest sample size per brand at 330 respondents.

Read: How much it costs to open a fast food franchise in South Africa

Over 45% of the total sample surveyed chose fast food outlets associated with chicken – Nandos, Chicken Licken and KFC – illustrating the country’s love for chicken.

# Brand Score
1 Nandos 83.0
2 Chicken Licken 83.0
3 KFC 82.8
Industry Average 82.0
4 Steers 81.2
5 Debonairs 81.1
6 McDonalds 80.1
7 FishAways 78.3

While Nandos maintained its score this year, competing brands showed greater improvement.

Although Chicken Licken’s customers expressed a significantly lower satisfaction in 2014 than in 2013, the brand received a significantly higher SAcsi Index score, to the extent that it matched Nandos’ score this year.

McDonalds customers expressed declining satisfaction with the brand in 2014, but this has remained constant.

Only KFC’s customers deem their experience as ideal, which correlates with the survey’s findings that KFC provides the best value for money in the eyes of its customers, the survey found.

Prof. Adré Schreuder, founder of SAcsi and CEO of Consulta, says that while price has always been an advantage for fast food, improved quality and variety have helped push satisfaction to higher levels.

“Looking at the SAcsi measure of expectations compared to delivery on quality, it is telling that for the first time since 2013, fast food brands are delivering on their customers’ expectations and perceived quality,” he said.

With the exception of Debonairs, each of the brands has reported higher scores in overall perceived quality. Nandos has the highest score and KFC reports a significant increase in overall quality from 79.9 in 2014 to 84.9 this year.

“Consumers are more aware about food and trends and we are seeing trends in the form of healthier options like grilled meals, sustainability issues – green practices, provision of nutritional information – and smaller portion sizes.

“Fast food customers are looking for simple but real food that triggers a memory and creates an experience – while being quick and affordable,” said Schreuder.

The Net Promoter Score (NPS), which describes the likelihood of customers to recommend a particular brand), showed that Nandos was the most likely to be recommended at 57.5%.

Debonairs scored 11.8% lower than in 2014, while KFC increased its NPS score by 5.1% to 53.1%. The average score was just under 50%.

SAcsi also looked at complaints as part of measuring customer satisfaction. About 8% of the sample reported complaints overall, with KFC getting the highest percentage of complaints at 11% and Chicken Licken customers with the lowest level of complaints at 3.8%.

The twist is that KFC customers were very satisfied with the manner in which complaints were resolved, the report said.

“KFC is ensuring that 71.9% those customers leave happy, which is so vital in customer satisfaction. Debonairs scored highest, with 80% of customers who registered complaints saying that they are happy with how these were handled. Chicken Licken had a low incidence of complaints but 66.7% of those who did complain were not happy with how these were resolved,” said Schreuder.

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Best and worst fast food brands in SA