A survey of customer experience in the UK’s casual dining restaurants has found that Wagamama leads the way in many key metrics.
Market Force Information has revealed that Wagamama has the highest customer satisfaction, the biggest propensity to gain recommendations from diners and the most loyal customers on the high street.
Respondents were asked to rate their overall satisfaction when dining at casual dining restaurants, on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 representing extremely satisfied. Wagamama scored an impressive 4.23, with their nearest competitor being Nando’s. 46% of those surveyed said they would recommend Wagamama to their friends, with Nando’s again coming in second place. Wagamama also came out on top when it comes to customer loyalty, scoring 45% in Market Force’s composite loyalty index.
Jonnie Davis, commercial director in the UK with Market Force, comments: “Wagamama is clearly thinking about its customers and the experience they provide them. To come out on top in so many different categories is testament to this. The success of restaurants, today more than ever, is built on creating a loyal client base that are happy to recommend other diners.
We’ve found that loyalty is driven by creating an exceptional experience across a number of key factors. Those that provide good food, value for money, friendly and attentive staff, fast service and a good menu variety are the restaurants that will continue to thrive. Wagamama is exceptional at delivering on this.”
Market Force rates the performance of restaurants using 10 key measures, all evaluated on a 1-5 scale. It then scores each restaurant based on the number of 5’s it achieves in each category. The table below reveals the scores achieved.
Davis continues: “With Wagamama occupying top spot in 6 of the ten categories it is unsurprising to see that they are leading the way on other key metrics. In addition, they occupy the top spot for 2 of the three main drivers – food quality and friendly service. They’re absolutely an organisation focused on customer experience and it is paying off.”
The power of Trip Advisor
The Casual Dining Index also revealed some key findings about how diners are increasingly relying on social media, and particularly Trip Advisor, to research before they book. A staggering 3 in 4 of respondents claimed to read review on a restaurant before booking. And almost half (44%) made their choice based on the reviews they read. It’s clear that having a positive overall Trip Advisor presence is a key part in future success.
Davis continues: “It’s probably not that much of a surprise to see that diners are using social media to find out about other people’s experiences at restaurants. That said, to see that the numbers are quite so high may well be a surprise. What’s really interesting is when you combine this with our results on overall experience. 1 in 5 of our respondents had a disappointing experience at a casual dining restaurant, but the vast majority didn’t tell the restaurant at the time. We believe they are far more likely to tell the world via social media, so restaurants need to take heed of all comments online and not just trust that the public will tell them on the spot about their disappointment.”
Banish long wait times and poor food
Of those diners that reported issues with restaurants in the casual dining sector, long wait times and poor food quality were the top problems. Casual dining is all about good, reasonably priced food, served efficiently and with minimal fuss. The restaurants that manage to eradicate these two issues are likely to be the ones that thrive in the future.
About the Survey
In November 2018 Market Force surveyed 2,188 UK consumers and asked them about their casual dining habits including brand preference, visit frequency, brand engagement, customer experience and social media usage.
The full list of restaurants included in the survey is:
Ask, Bella Italia, Cafe Rouge, Carluccio’s, Chef & Brewer, Chiquito, Fayre & Square, Flaming Grill Pubs, Frankie & Benny’s, Giraffe, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Greene King, Harvester, Hungry Horse, itsu, JD Wetherspoon, Loch Fyne, Marston’s Pubs, Nando’s, Nicholson’s, Pizza Hut, PizzaExpress, Prezzo, Revolution, Sizzling Pubs, Strada, T.G.I. Fridays, The Slug and Lettuce, Toby Carvery, Turtle Bay, Wagamama, Wimpy, Yates’s, Zizzi, and Whitbread Brands (Beefeater, Brewers Fayre, Table Table).