Papa Murphy's Ranks Highest in Pizza 'Delight'

Dominant players fall in "middle of pack," Empathica says

TORONTO -- Papa Murphy's took the cheesy crown of America's top quick-service restaurant (QSR) pizza/pasta brand based on customer "delight," according to Empathica Inc., a leading global provider of customer experience management (CEM) solutions. The findings are from the 2013 Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) Benchmark Study.

Papa Murphy's

The study surveyed 10,000 U.S. consumers and determined brand rankings in categories such as food, staff and atmosphere, as well as the drivers behind social media engagement and loyalty.

It asked QSR customers to rate their recent visit to a pizza/pasta chain on a number of factors, and it calculated a "percent delighted" score 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%).

3. Pizza Hut (48%).

3. Papa John's (48%).

3. Domino's Pizza (48%).

3. Little Caesars (48%).

7. CiCi's Pizza (43%).

8. Hungry Howie's (32%).

9. Sbarro (26%).

10. Chuck E. Cheese's (24%).

Delighting a full 68% of customers--nearly 20% more than the second highest ranked pizza/pasta chain--Papa Murphy's sits in a league of its own among similar QSRs, Empathica said. 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," said Gary Edwards, chief customer officer at Empathica. "Pizza Hut ranks No. 1 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 carryout category, while Papa John's ranked highest for dine-in (56%)."

When asked why they selected a pizza/pasta brand over other chains, customers 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.

Customers 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.

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 QSR. 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 to $14 and $11 to $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."

The Empathica Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) Benchmark Study launched in March 2013 and surveyed 10,000 US consumers on the top 62 QSR brands. It measured food, order accuracy, speed of service, staff, value, cleanliness, atmosphere and menu for QSRs that guests had visited in the past 30 days.

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