STUDY: Papa Murphy’s Take N’ Bake Ranks Highest in Customer Delight Among American Pizza Chains

The Big Four Dominant Players — Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Little Caesars and Papa John’s — All Ranked Similar to One Another as “Middle of the Pack,” Empathica’s 2013 QSR Benchmark Study Finds

empathica_top 5 pizza pasta visits

Toronto, Ontario, Canada – September 17, 2013 — Empathica Inc., a leading global provider of Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions to the world’s most respected multi-unit enterprises, releases today pizza/pasta brand findings from the 2013 Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) Benchmark Study. The study surveyed 10,000 US consumers and determined brand rankings in categories such as food, staff and atmosphere, as well as the drivers behind social media engagement and loyalty.

QSR guests were asked to rate their recent visit to a pizza/pasta chain on a number of factors, and a “percent delighted” score was calculated by averaging ratings of overall satisfaction, likelihood of revisiting, value for money paid and likelihood of recommending. The Benchmark Study then ranked America’s top QSR pizza/pasta brands on customer “delight” with their visits:

  1. Papa Murphy’s – 68%
  2. Fazoli’s – 49%
  1. Pizza Hut – 48%
  1. Papa John’s – 48%
  1. Domino’s – 48%
  1. Little Caesar’s – 48%
  1. CiCi’s Pizza — 43%
  2. Hungry Howie’s — 32%
  3. Sbarro — 26%
  4. Chuck E. Cheese’s — 24%

Delighting a full 68 percent of customers — nearly 20 percent more than the second highest ranked pizza/pasta chain — Papa Murphy’s sits in a league of its own among similar QSRs. Papa Murphy’s ranked highest across all key customer outcome measures, including overall customer satisfaction (68%), good value for what customers paid (66%), customer likelihood to revisit (70%) and customer likelihood to recommend (66%).

“The results get really interesting when we look at what the brands claim to offer and promise customers versus what they deliver,” says Dr. Gary Edwards, Chief Customer Officer at Empathica. “Pizza Hut ranks number one on drive thru (67%), a testimony to its push on convenience. Papa Murphy’s — which allows customers to take pizzas home to cook in their own ovens — delighted the most customers (69%) in the carry-out category, while Papa John’s ranked highest for dine-in (56%).”

Price and Food Taste Attract Customers to Pizza/Pasta QSRs

When asked why they selected a pizza/pasta brand over other chains, guests consistently cited price and food taste as the top reasons for visiting. In fact, the top reason that guests visited the seven highest ranked pizza/pasta brands — Papa Murphy’s, Fazoli’s, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Domino’s, Little Caesars and CiCi’s Pizza — was either price or food taste. Guests also selected QSR pizza/pasta chains based on speed and efficiency of staff, coupons or promotional offers, menu choices and location convenience.

“Restaurant loyalty is determined by many different factors, including product, service, speed, price and environment. From a practical standpoint, it’s almost impossible to outperform your competitors in every category. To succeed, pizza/pasta QSRs have to narrow their focus to a few elements that have the potential to make the biggest impact on loyalty levels. By focusing on and owning one or two competitive categories — as Pizza Hut ‘owns’ the drive thru category — QSRs can significantly improve repeat business,” said Edwards.

Higher Average Check Sizes Don’t Indicate Superior Customer Satisfaction

Despite the fact that Chuck E. Cheese’s ranked lowest in overall customer satisfaction (24%), visitors spent more money per visit at Chuck E. Cheese’s than at any other pizza/pasta quick service restaurant. While the average amount spent per visit at a pizza/pasta QSR is $18 for males and $20 for females, visitors spent an average of $40.50 during their last visit to Chuck E. Cheese’s. Little Caesars and Sbarro brought in the lowest amount of money per visit, with male and female customers spending $12-14 and $11-$17 respectively.

“Chuck E. Cheese’s brings in a significantly larger amount of money per visit than any other pizza/pasta QSR, likely because the establishment is known for hosting large groups of children for occasions such as birthday parties and for being a place for families to go for both a meal and entertainment,” Edwards said. “But despite the fact that the chain makes more money per visit, Chuck E. Cheese’s is likely not seeing as many repeat visits as other chains that offer an experience suited to day-to-day needs, not just special occasions. Adults will continue to return to Chuck E. Cheese’s for their children, but their loyalty will remain with chains that excel in top loyalty drivers, such as price and food taste.”

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About the 2013 Empathica Quick Service Restaurant Benchmark Study:

The Empathica Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) Benchmark Study launched in March 2013 and surveyed 10,000 US consumers on the top 62 QSR brands. The Benchmark measured food, order accuracy, speed of service, staff, value, cleanliness, atmosphere and menu for QSRs that guests had visited in the past 30 days. The survey also gathered the drivers behind loyalty for a QSR and for social media advocacy. Results, led by Dr. Gary Edwards and Empathica’s research team, were published in July 2013. The Benchmark has been weighted to reflect latest Census distributions in the US, including region, gender, age and income.

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