Starting our project
The first thing we realized as soon as we stepped out to the field was that Malaysians take eating out very seriously (they eat out on average 5.6 times a week). Our project was no small task: we had to analyze the customer journey for both our client and its competition, to identify what works best for the Malaysian customer.
In less than 5 days, we had already visited over 10 Nando’s locations and more than 20 competitors, interviewing employees, managers and customers – and probably gained a few pounds while at it!
Our first group Nando’s meal – the first of many. If you have not tried Nando’s famous Peri Peri chicken, we recommend you get to it!
Uber drivers who don’t speak much English and don’t know the streets make for very fun rides…if you finally make it to your destination on time!
One very important highlight of our trip: location! Nando’s chose an Airbnb for us, in the middle of KL center, which provided us easy access to all main dining locations. The biggest perk of it? We had an infinity pool on the rooftop! Our daily morning routine included gym and pool to help us cope with jetlag.
Arriving to Malaysia in the middle of Hari Raya
Over 60% of Malaysia’s population is Muslim – and we arrived during their main festivity. Hari Raya Aidilfitri is the day that marks the end of the Ramadan fasting month, and many Malaysians take these days off to travel and spend time with their families. Every mall we visited was packed, which meant plenty of customers for us to interview and observe for the project.
Visiting Nando’s offices
We visited the central support office multiple times to meet with different key stakeholders, from Human Resources to Operations to Marketing, digging deeper into Nando’s culture, brand and operations.
We even got our own Nando’s shirts – we used these while interviewing customers in restaurants in stores, to make customers more comfortable about sharing their experiences with us.
Visiting Nando’s Casas
We visited over 10 Nando’s restaurants in Malaysia to interview staff and customers. All employees were extremely helpful and cooperative in providing us the information we required to shape our project.
While in country, we split into two smaller groups to be able to visit as many competitors as possible. After a couple of days, we were almost professional mystery diners, ready to identify what differentiated each restaurant and what Malaysian customers experienced at each location.
One single mall had over 100 restaurants. So many choices!
Some restaurants used technology for certain steps of the ordering process. This sushi restaurant had iPads to place orders with.
Design thinking – Airbnb style
Most of our work was field based, and we spent many working hours in restaurants – which meant we had to debrief late at night. Luckily, all of us proved to be night owls. Our Airbnb walls were quickly turned into impromptu boards for our design thinking exercises, which ran until late hours at night.
You don’t have 2 minutes?
Probably one of the most interesting parts of our project was having to intercept customers after their meals, in order to obtain their insights. You know how you feel when people approach you at the mall and try to ask you some questions for research? Well, put 5 MBA students at it, and see if you can say no! We will probably have to trademark the phrase: you don’t have two minutes?
Besides visiting what seemed like hundreds of restaurants, we also played tourists during our free hours. One of the most fun areas in KL is Changkat Bukit Bintang, where you can find restaurants, clubs, and a night food market which offers bbq frogs, to satay, and of course the infamous Durian! We were adventurous enough to try it, but we never got over the smell.