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Wendys aim is to achieve international success by expanding its operations globally
whilst pursuing its notions of superior quality and competitive prices. In order to do
this, it must take into account the needs, attitudes, culture as well as many other
determinates of consumer behaviour to be able to penetrate the market and gain
market share over its competitors. Wendys will need to consider which factors are
most important to its target market in influencing their purchase decision and strive to
gain a competitive edge in the market. This essay will analyse Wendys marketing
strategy in its international expansion and in particular, into Germany by identifying
the decision making process and determinates that contribute to the attitudes and
behaviour of its potential customer base.
Consumer Decision-Making Process
The consumer decision-making process is a series of steps which a consumer will go
through before, whilst and after purchasing a product.
The first step is need recognition, where the consumer realises a need that needs to be
resolved. This need is often stimulated by advertisements or sighting a product.
Consumers go to Wendys to satisfy their need for food, which Wendys aims to
satisfy with its menu. In Korea, Wendys restaurants are located in high-traffic,
visibility locations that keeps the store in the public eye which may stimulate latent needs of
consumers. For example, a consumer who was not overly hungry may decide to drop into
Wendys to grab a quick snack just because he/she saw the large attractive signs.
Next is information search, whereby customers search for information through their
evoked set of recognisable brands. The relevant ones in this case study being
McDonalds, Burger King, KFC and of course Wendys. In order for Wendys to gain
an advantage in this stage, it must differentiate itself from its competitors and it tries
to do this by perceiving itself as a higher quality, more health conscious alternative to
its main rivals. However, for fast food products, the main determinate in whether a
store enters a consumers evoked set is the amount of advertising that is done, thus to
ensure success, Wendys should make sure that enough advertising is done to promote
its brand. It must then carry through the promises it makes about the quality of its
products and stores to gain customer loyalty and hopefully generate positive word-of-
mouth and hence increased brand recognition.
Alternative evaluation is where the consumer evaluates the particular product against
its competition. Because Wendys products are in the fast food category, and thus
very low involvement, a typical consumer will not go through a long search process,
as the benefits of search are not worth the effort involved. For a potential customer of
Wendys, all they want is a quick efficient product that symbolises the American
lifestyle that Wendys is meant to portray. The product itself is low importance and
low risk as consumption is usually swift and US hygiene standards are of a high level,
thus these are not factors which usually comes into a consumers mind when they are
deciding where to eat. Generally, a customer will usually just go to the most
convenient fast food outlet that they have heard of and trust. Thus for Wendys to
have maximum success, they should place emphasis on advertising to let its brand
name be known to consumers. It should particularly emphasize its main business
proposition of being number one in quality and service in the advertisements as this
will influence a customers understanding of perceived benefits when visiting a
Wendys store. Placing its stores in strategic locations where customers are must
likely to frequent, whether it be near office buildings, discotheques or shopping
centers etc depending on the countrys culture, will also ensure that there will always
be large traffic into its restaurants.
Once a customer has selected Wendys as their place of hunger satisfaction, it is then
up to Wendys to ensure that it carries out its promises and fulfills the desires and
perceived benefits from visiting the store. Determinants such as store hygiene,
experience and friendliness of staff, speed of service, product selection etc can all
influence whether or not a customer is satisfied with their visit. This in turn will
determine whether or not the visit will leave a positive view of the store in their mind,
if it doesnt then the customer is unlike to return to the store in the future.
The post purchase evaluation stage should confirm that the customer has made a
correct selection in choosing Wendys and that their overall experience with the
restaurant was a positive one. This means that all or most of their expectations were
satisfied and that Wendys truly does represent a high quality American style meal. If
this is so, then the marketing strategy of Wendys has been a success and it should
ensure customer loyalty and repeat purchases.
Individual Determinants of Consumer Behaviour
By understanding and analysing what drives a customer into its stores and eventually
buys its products, Wendys can start to understand the individual determinants of
consumer behaviour. These attitudes include consumer resources, motivation,
involvement, knowledge, attitudes and personality/lifestyle, each of these will be
discussed below.
Consumer resources will affect what decisions the decisions that they make, whether
it be economic, temporal or cognitive. A potential Wendys customer is likely to want
a cheap, quick yet tasty meal. They are not likely to do much research into what they
are buying and unlikely to stay in the restaurant for a long period of time. Wendys
must therefore take all of these factors into account whilst planning its marketing and
sales strategy. The prices must be affordable, delivery time quick and must still be of
good quality if these criterion are not met, a customers actualised experience will
be lower than their perceived experience and will therefore be unsatisfied and unlikely
to rate the brand favorably. The amount of resources a consumer has may also affect
their motivations towards purchasing a product.
Motivation is the state of drive or arousal that pushes behaviour towards a goal-
object (Widing et al, 2003). The motivation of a potential Wendys customer can
range from a simple hunger which needs to be satisfied to someone wanting to enjoy
an American experience, which they seek to find at Wendys. In order to influence
customers motivations, Wendys will need to ensure that their stores fits what
motivates its customers and satisfy their needs whether they be basic, ie hunger, or
more complex, ie the need to satisfy self-esteem by purchasing the higher quality
Wendys products over its alternatives. Because fast food is such a low involvement
product, temporal resources motivate consumers much more than economic and
cognitive ones. If a customer gets what he/she desires in a timely manner, and it is
priced reasonably, they will usually be content.
The knowledge aspect is an important determinate that Wendys needs to capitalize on
if a person does know about Wendys or know what kind of products they serve,
then they are far more likely to go somewhere that they are more accustomed to.
Wendys must focus on getting its brand name out to potential customers en mass.
Not only must they deliver their brand name, but they also have to let consumers
know their value propositions and how they differentiate themselves from their rivals
such as McDonalds or Burger King. Their management specifically focuses on a
higher quality product with their slogan the best hamburgers in America being their
main advertising gimmick. In European cultures, consumers see going to Wendys as
an American experience; thus advertisements and promotions should promote their
slogan strongly in order to tell consumers that Wendys represents the experience they
are looking for and also happen to offer the best product available.
Similarly, these marketing campaigns are likely to affect a persons attitudes towards
Wendys. Attitudes are learned predispositions to respond to an object or class of
objects in a consistent manner (Widing et al, 2003). Consumers attitudes towards
Wendys will be affected firstly by advertisements and related marketing campaigns
these will influence the brand belief of the consumer and create an expectation of the
brand. If this is a positive expectation, then the consumer is likely to go to the
restaurant for a meal and this will leave another impression on their mind. This
impression will then affect future attitudes towards the brand, if their experience was a
positive one then it will leave a good impression and a positive attitude and the
opposite if their impression was a negative one. A persons attitudes towards a brand
or product is perhaps the main determinate in whether or not a product is purchased
in order to maintain a positive attitude by its customers Wendys must not only
promote itself as a great place to eat, but must also carry out this promise.
External Influences of Consumer Behaviour
Lastly, we shall look at the external influences that contribute to the behaviour of
consumers. These include such factors such as demographics, family, culture and
social class. All of these factors will affect certain characteristics within consumers
and may determine whether or not they will purchase a product. Wendys will need to
research all of these influences, especially in its international expansions to learn
about the different cultures and way of life of the different consumers in order to gain
maximum market share.
The main change in culture and demographics all over the world is the increasing
number of women who are working full-time. This of course means less time to cook
at home and hence families are eating out a lot more. Wendys can take advantage of
this trend by establishing itself as a nice place where the whole family can come in
and enjoy a meal.
As the case study suggests, Wendys is looking to expand its market share globally,
especially in reentering the German market. In order to do this, they must fully
understand and analyse the German culture, way of life and what motivates German
consumers to buy fast food products. Germans see Wendys as a relatively cheap and
convenient way of getting some fast food. They consider Wendys quality of food as a
large incentive to go there they also value taste and nutritional quality of food as
well as cleanliness and environmental friendliness of the restaurants. Hence Wendys
must make sure that they comply with the German expectations of their restaurants if
they are to be successful at penetrating that particular market.
In order for Wendys to continue its success in the domestic market and create success
while expanding into international markets, it must fully analyse the ways consumers
behave. Each country will have different cultures, values and demographics and
Wendys will need to market its brand name and products accordingly. Research into
the attitudes and motivations of the different market segmentations will greatly
increase the probability of prosperity for the company. Because fast food is such a low
involvement and the market is very saturated, the best Wendys can do is create
convenient and efficient service at reasonable prices while still providing a high
quality product for the consumer. This way, the perceived benefits of the consumer
are met and the are satisfied with their experience, which will most likely result in a
positive attitude and repeat purchases in the future. In conclusion, by building a good
brand image and exceeding expectations, Wendys will go a long way in meeting the
explicit needs and creating customer satisfaction.