NOTE: The individual assignment is based around the “Global Success through Franchising: Secret Recipe Cakes and Café” case study.
Assume that you have just been hired by Secret Recipe’s general manager as a research assistant. During a briefing session on the very first day at work, the general manager expressed his opinion that competition is becoming increasingly stiff in the Café and Bars segment within the Malaysian Food Service industry.
In addition, there is increasing acceptance by the company’s senior executives that mere speculations, ad hoc feedback, cursory observations and/or educated guesses of the kinds of factors that actually contribute to the company’s overall success are no longer sufficient in gaining a more sustained competitive edge over its competitors. This includes factors that lead to better customer perception of Secret Recipe’s overall service quality, enhanced brand equity, higher customer satisfaction, the higher probability of repurchase (i.e. continued patronage), etc. In this regard, they believe that most of their closest competitors rely on similarly informal approaches in their attempts to find out what works for themselves as well as their competitors. This conclusion is corroborated by employees who have recently joined the company from some of their main rivals.
Considering the overall trend above, the senior managers of Secret Recipe believe that a more consistent and robust approach to understanding the aforementioned customer-related aspects is essential for enhancing the long-term performance of the company. In relation to this, the general manager noticed that you completed a research methods module during your time at University. Consequently, he has instructed you to suggest a more proper and systematic
approach to evaluate different aspects of the business.
As you’re new to the company and also the fact that each distinctive area requires considerable attention, you are only required to select ONE of the following areas that are of interest. They are:
a). Customer perception of Secret Recipe’s service quality
b). The degree of overall Customer Satisfaction/Loyalty
c). The probability of Secret Recipe’s customers repeat purchase (i.e. customer’s Repurchase Intention/Behavior)
You are required to submit a detailed report to the general manager (please refer to the Requirements section below).
You are required to conduct a systematic, critical literature review on the various factors influencing your chosen area of interest (i.e. area a), b), or c)). For instance, if area b) is chosen, you will be critically reviewing established literature on the factors that influence/determine/affect the degree of overall customer satisfaction.
You’re supposed to provide compelling/convincing evidence to the managers of Secret Recipe in terms of what factors they must focus on in attempts to increase the likelihood of customers to “repeat purchase”. Most of the evidence must come from journal articles (i.e. past empirical studies)… generally, the more the better. So, please review as many journal articles as possible… once you have read “enough”, you will notice that a few factors keep “appearing”… so, identify those that most studies find to be important/significant… then rank them… talk about the most important one first then the second most important and so on… just 3 major factors would do..
For each factor, you have to choose which journals to cite in your main body of work… try to choose those with the “closest” fit to Secret Recipe… for example, findings of a study on repeat purchase for airline tickets may not be as applicable as one that focuses on restaurants (since Secret Recipe serves food as well)… besides closest fit… you should also consider sizes of samples perhaps.. a study on 10,000 cafes is more “convincing” than one on just 8 cafes for instance… as you can see…there are many ways to convince us of the “quality” and also the suitability of studies that you have chosen… so be flexible… but please describe these in your answer… multiple references for each factor is expected…you can also “combine” studies where appropriate… for example… “Many studies found this to be a key factor (Lee et al., 2009; Sam & Sam, 2006; Smith, 2015)”…
Also, we are not truly interested in what Secret Recipe should do AFTER you report your findings so don’t focus on that.
You have to MAKE CHOICES here – Quantitative or QualItative? Why? Methodology? Data collection method? Why? Justify! For this, you can justify by perhaps looking at what people have done in the past in this area …or perhaps using your “preferred” research philosophy… Please note that for this assignment – you are just required to “DESIGN” research on paper. Please DO NOT design actual questionnaires or interview questions… and please DO NOT collect any data …not required
You are expected to deal with the question of “for my research… who do I “choose” as my sample? How do I select these people?” So, you have to select a sampling strategy/technique… and justify…why does this specific technique make sense for this piece of research… also, we need practical details about when to collect data? Where to collect? How to collect? These elements are important in research as …for example…if you collect data only on weekday afternoons… most of your sample would be working adults… you would’ve missed the families who only go during weekends ..so your findings may be “biased” in that sense… and how many branches and/or customers would be “enough”? please think about these issues …
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