Spur reaps fruits of value investments

The Spur beefs up customers

The good life: The Spur has gained traction in the market
Spur lifestyle LR.jpg
The Spur Steak Ranches brand has not only topped the popularity polls for the third time in 2012, but the company has also succeeded in building its loyalty card membership to more than a million diners in less than two years, according to CEO Pierre van Tonder. 

With a total of 248 restaurants in South Africa, the family brand has grown the number of its Spur Family cardholders to over 1,1 million from 191 000 a year ago. The loyalty programme was introduced in October 2010, and now accounts for 27% of annual Spur SA restaurant turnover, he said. 

“The rate at which consumers are joining The Spur Family and taking advantage of the benefits offered is another demonstration of the very positive public perception our brand enjoys.” Family cardholders earn the equivalent of a 5% discount on their meals. 

As an example of the active consumer engagement The Spur maintains, each time members have earned sufficient points to receive R50 voucher, they are notified by a text message. He said that with consumer disposable income still very much under pressure, it was imperative to extend genuine value to diners. 

“The tendency is for people to save money by eating at home unless you give them a compelling reason to dine with you. We strive to over-deliver on quality and experience in relation to price. The growth in customers we are enjoying indicates to us that we are meeting the needs of South Africans.” 

To maintain its reputation, the company invested extensively in operations and marketing, infrastructure, supply chain management, digital customer engagement and staff training.Earlier in August, The Spur was voted South Africa’s first choice in sit-down restaurants, taking the category lead in the Sunday Times Top Brands survey for 2012. 

Commissioned by Avusa Media and conducted by TNS, the survey involved interviews with 400 senior business people, as well as 3 500 adult consumers. Respondents were asked a series of questions to determine frequency of consumption of brands surveyed and also how individual brands were perceived, relative to their competitors by users and non-users. 

Just a few weeks before, The Spur was voted the country’s “coolest eat out place” among those aged 8 to 22 in the Sunday Times Next Generation survey for 2012. This year marked the eighth consecutive time it has topped the youth polls. 

During the first quarter of this year, The Spur was also voted South Africa’s top restaurant brand with the best-tasting food and best-value pricing in a poll conducted by Acentric Marketing Research. Van Tonder said The Spur’s rising appeal was closely bound up with its highly focused value positioning, stringent quality standards and the regular introduction of new dining concepts and menu items to enhance the versatility of the brand offering. 

As a franchise operation, it was also backed by a deeply committed and largely owner-managed network, supported by well-incentivised staff. “We are well established as the go-to family restaurant for lunch, dinner, birthday and other celebrations. 

We’ve now also become a favourite option for breakfast as the excellent response to our R19,95 ‘unreal’ breakfast offering bears out.” Promoting custom during what had traditionally been an off-peak trading time, breakfast has also become an important contributor to revenue. 

He said an active digital customer engagement programme also kept customers updated on many other value-added campaigns. To attract and retain quality staff who were central to the positive dining experience for consumers, the company had introduced a College of Excellence, a six-month long, off-site practical and theoretical intensive training course to fast-track talented staff into junior and middle management positions. 

Established in 1967, The Spur Steak Ranches now has 284 outlets worldwide, with restaurants in various parts of Africa, Mauritius, Dubai, the UK and Australia.
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