A powerful vision combined with enthusiastic leadership and a belief in the importance of its people won Pizza Hut top honours in its category for the second consecutive year. Pizza Hut aims to be the UK's favourite restaurant brand and is confident it is on the right track. The vital ingredient: the organisation's 14,500 people, according to president and chief executive Jon Prinsell.
'Over time we've learned that if we put 'people capability' first, satisfied customers and profitability follow,' says Prinsell. Obvious sentiments maybe, but few organisations are as skilled in achieving customer satisfaction through excellent employee performance. Pizza Hut has carried out extensive research into what its one million customers a week want and has constructed a business strategy based on the findings. It aligns all aspects of its operational and people processes - including recruitment, training, development, reward and recognition - around six key drivers of customer satisfaction.
These drivers - cleanliness, hospitality, accuracy, maintenance, product quality and speed of service - are known by the acronym CHAMPS.
A key component of CHAMPS is a 'mystery shopper' programme which measures how each of Pizza Hut's 402 restaurants is performing every month against customer expectations. This CHAMPSCHECK programme assesses restaurant performance against more than 70 factors including the time taken to clear tables, the cleanliness of the ceiling and the temperature of the pizza.
Staff bonuses are linked to this programme which also forms the basis of Pizza Hut's internal restaurant performance league. Since the launch of CHAMPS over three years ago, Pizza Hut has identified a clear link between restaurants which achieve high CHAMPS scores and business growth.
Employees who exceed customer expectations are recognised through a reward scheme, WOW, which recognises exceptional customer service. Team members in any part of the organisation can nominate colleagues for awards. WOWs are also awarded by mystery shoppers and by staff at the Customer Care Centre, based at Pizza Hut's Restaurant Support Centre in Borehamwood.
WOW awards range from a personalised card sent by Prinsell to prizes worth more than £1,000. Recent winners include a team member who saved the life of a customer suffering a heart attack.
The passion for customers rewarded by the WOW scheme is encouraged by Pizza Hut's 10 values which drive all business initiatives. Communicated by managers, the values - customer focus, belief in people, recognition, coaching and support, accountability, excellence, positive energy, teamwork, openness and integrity, fun and enthusiasm - are understood throughout the company. In the latest employee opinion survey, more than 90% of staff agreed that customer satisfaction is always the company's top priority.
More than 80% of employees also said they would go beyond the call of duty to exceed customer expectations. Pizza Hut's recruitment criteria and appraisal system is now based on the 10 values.
Pizza Hut's faith in building its business around its mission, values and CHAMPS is now paying dividends. The firm also has ambitious expansion plans for the next two years (100 new stores in the UK). Many businesses accept the reasons for building their business around 'customer focus', but few see the process through effectively. Having taken the decision four years ago to drive its business according to what customers want, Pizza Hut continues to be guided by that aim. All new initiatives, including a £25-million refurbishment programme to update the image of its restaurant premises and the launch of 'Hutline' - a single free-phone number which makes takeaway and delivery pizza easier to order - are driven by Pizza Hut's mission and the CHAMPS values. 'You could say the key plank in our strategy is CHAMPS, CHAMPS and more CHAMPS,' says Prinsell.
- Build business strategy around customers
- Identify what drives customer satisfaction
- Ensure consistency of product and service quality
- 'Mystery shop' to measure performance
- Communicate vision and values widely.