Purpose – Wendy’s is looking to increase its market share, possibly to supersede Burger King’s and McDonald’s shares. Targeting this vision the company has to know its customers preferences and the way these affects their buying from a fast-food restaurant (Wendy’s). This report aims to explore how Wendy’s can utilizes marketing research to improve its service & strengthen its brand image ultimately to increase its market share.Design – The research will capitalize on the strengths of both qualitative research and quantitative research, to examine the effect of: Price, Friendliness of Personnel, Variety of menu, Service speed, calorie content, Business hours, convenience, Delivery service, and Cleanliness on the perceived ”Service quality” and “Brand Image”.

Syndicated data will be used to form the foundation of the questionnaire and support/contrast the hypothesis put in Step: 2 of the research design.While Qualitative research is the form of “Observational Study“ will be conducted to get insight about customers’ reaction toward the factors mentioned earlier. Finally, Quantitative research is the form of “Self-administered Survey” in a “Mall-intercept” context. Findings & Recommendation – The fast food industry is booming despite the current economic downturn, Wendy’s shouldn’t miss such opportunity by expanding its presence in the market; and perhaps to new market; as well as by introducing new offerings to satisfy it customer/acquire new ones.On the other hand, Wendy’s shall continue to strengthen its brand image and emphasis on the customer’s preferences to form a favorable image that support its business.

It is also important to grasp the apparatuses through which brand image impacts consumer buying intention of fast food. Limitations – Limited number of questions can be asked allowing little for the researched to know about their audience which can be enhanced through further research to get supplementary information for the subject matter.Hence the findings of this report may not apply to the whole population being studied before the necessary adjustments. Also some trends or important factors may be missed because of the emphasis on the hypothesis testing rather than examining the numerous possibilities.

Finally, participants often are not selected randomly rather the selection is easily influenced by the researcher's personal biases. Furthermore, the issues of anonymity may affect respondent feed-back.The global economic down turn which started in 2008 has hit many industries very hard forcing many companies into bankruptcy and others toward severe restricting. Fast-food industry, however, has been resilient to these effects in fact it has been further growing and expected to continue on the same trend in one of the most competitive industries world-wide.

Lower spending patterns along with more cautious and sophisticated customers are considered the main reasons behind such drift also fueled by vigorous marketing campaigns of the fast food companies (Sipahi, 2010).Emerging markets has been leading the way of the fast food industry growth. For instance, China’s food industry grew 25% in 2010 only. Supported by the emergence of bigger middle class segment and therefore higher level of disposable income the industry is expected to grow similarly (Researchandmarkets. com, 2011).

Having said that, some developing markets are also growing on a similar pace, in fact Domino’s increased its outlets in the UK around 20% in 2009 only, and likewise Subway grew its number of restaurants by almost 26 % in 2009 alone.As per Local Data Company's: “the 10 biggest cities, fast-food outlets soared by 8. 2 % to around 1,500 premises, with London, Edinburgh and Glasgow leading the way” (Thompson, 2009). “US Fast Food Market Outlook 2011-2014” also emphasized the important of fast food and its growth potential that exceeds the growth of overall restaurant industry. It also focused on the propensity of many food companies to push into new markets in the global scale to increase their profits.

RNCOS E-Services Private Limited, 2011). The competition in the fast food industry has always led companies to search for alternative ways to increase their sales; or sometimes only eager to keep up with other company’s’ intense advertising campaigns, most; if not all; of these has been the result of extensive research into the main factors that affect Customers buying decision process and customer’s preferences, and ‘Service quality” and Brand image and their influence on customers buying pattern.The purpose of this study is to provide a frame work for Wendy’s to expand its market share through focus on studying “Customers preferences” and “Brand Image”. Finally he study aims to determine how much Wendy’s has to invest “introducing new products / expanding their presence in the market” and how would that affect/increase Wendy’s market share? ”The company went through significant milestones from its inception in 1956 by Dave Thomas & Phil Clauss to its first restaurant in 1969 in Knoxville; to going public in 1976. Wendy’s first non- U.

S. in Canada in 1975 and is first national commercial aired in 1977. (Malhotra, 2010) Dave Thomas retired as chairman in 1982 and took the title of senior chairman. Two years after that Wendy’s launched an $8 million TV ad campaign “Where’s the beef? ” whereby its market jumped to 12%. McDonald and Burger King responded with their own campaigns which couldn’t be confronted despite the many attempt by Wendy’s to restore the eroded market share to 9%.

In 2002 Wendy’s lost its founder, Dave Thomas, however the company continued to perform well for the next three years. The company brand image in the aftermath of Dave Thomas start becoming an ongoing dilemma. During 2005, it started a campaign built around the call to action “Do What Tastes Right” which underscores Wendy’s 35-year heritage of serving great tasting, high quality food (Malhotra, 2010). Since 2006 Wendy’s leading innovation are overdosed of Burger King’s growing market share (Malhotra, 2010).As per the case in hand, Wendy’s conducted a survey as part of its effort to understand its (existing/potential) customers by studying: “customers demographics and awareness of different competing fast-food chains; the satisfaction responses of consumers in terms of family orientation, comfort, price, quick service, healthy food, cleanliness, and so on; and patronage preferences of costumers in term of eat-in or drive-through”.This study aims to design, guide and execute the above market research & draw conclusion thereof.

 Literature Review Extensive research into the main factors that affect Customers buying decision process and customer’s preferences, Price, Friendliness of Personnel, Variety of menu, Service speed (ordering & delivery), Calorie content, Business hours, convenience, Delivery service, Cleanliness (Kara, Kaynak, & Kucukemiroglu, 1997) (Arumugam, 2011),and also different researches has been conducted in different countries around the world to clarify how culture or other elements may affect our classifications for these factors.Marketing research studies for fast food industry in Spain has assured the importance of the brand’s perceived quality in the decision purchase. The quality of the brand can be divided as the quality of food and the quality of service. Soriano found that menu variety, innovative food, food presentation, fresh ingredients and food consistency are categorized under quality of food (Soriano, 2002). Thus quality of food and fresh ingredients has been rated as the most important motivation for customers to return to a restaurant.Other studies analyzed the effect of “Quality service” on customers buying pattern where Brown, Easingwood, & Murphy found that the consumers judgments about the quality of the product can be affected by information about the organization , that he can get from three communications channels “the channels are word-of-mouth, the media, and announcements from the marketers itself”  they have determined that “consumer’s perception of image quality is thus their perception of corporate identity-“percieve corporate image”.

Another study to see the differences in the perceptions for fast food restaurant between the American & South korean consumers was conducted and revealed that “Koreans’ expectations levels about tangibles, reliability,asurance, and low food prices were significantly greater than those of the American”. (M. Ulgado, 1997) wheraes “Americans express concern about their health, salt intake, and cholestrol” (Kara, Kaynak, & Kucukemiroglu, 1997).In 1990s the fast food industy has reported obvious global growth as a result of the change of lifestyle & the perception of fastfood, even the time- saving products with differences in each country related to different demographics & the consumption style.

 Market Research has been defined in many ways all of which focuses on (as per the American Heritage Dictionary ): “the gathering and evaluation of data regarding consumers' preferences for products and services”. Depending on marketing research many information can be obtained including: (The current company market share and the potential to grow , market trends and their impact, customer’s preferences and buying decision process, customer satisfaction level compared with competitors, customers response to new products and or service.