Initially, Donatos Pizza had to determine whether the new trend oflow-carb diets was a fad or a serious change in customer preferences.The organization capitalized on the broad research the Macdonald’sRestaurants provided to get data on eating habits of the Americans(Schindler, 2004).
In addition, a 2003 health focus report showed that 26% of the targetclients were aware of their carbohydrate intake. Moreover, TomKrouse, the chief concept officer at Donatos, was on an Atkins diet,which further proved that the newly found awareness was no fad. Uponthis realization, the enterprise developed the idea of the idea ofmaking healthy pizza – it had zero carbs. The next step wasinternal testing of the samples by the employees to ensure quality.The fourth step involved displaying the pictures of the newlydeveloped line of ‘no carb pizza’ to attract the customers.Finally, branding and pricing were done, and the survey/ feedbackfrom customers followed (Schindler, 2004).
The above steps used to develop the new product at Donatos pizza aresimilar to Kotler’s steps of new product development: ideageneration, testing, concept development and testing, development ofmarket strategy, business analysis, product development andcommercialization (Manmohan, 2010).
Donatos held monthly Wassup Meetings where the employee sharedoutside knowledge about popular culture or trends and its effect onthe enterprise. The issue of customers leaving behind ‘little pilesof crust’ was presented. At first, the management feared that thequality of the crust was wrong, but they later discovered that peoplewere just not eating the crust in an attempt to lower their carbintake (Schindler, 2004). The methodology was then integral in theformulation of the research question. Examples of research questionsestablished include: What kind of diet the consumers could go on? What kind of pizza to be incorporated into this diet? Does the newform of pizza require new technology?
The first taste test conducted by Donatos was on its employees,which allowed them to find and perfect the proper combination ofingredients to comply with the organization’s high standards.Additionally, phone surveys were conducted in search of the new nameof the pizza. Later tests were carried out in two of the company’srestaurants in different locations. Usually, testing of a new productconsumes up to 14 months, but in this case, the ‘No Dough Pizza’was rolled out in all 184 Donatos’ stores in just six and halfmonths of testing (Schindler, 2004). Launching the product after sucha short period of screening was designed to coincide strategicallywith the New Year when most of the customer wanted to lose weight andwere sensitive to their carbs intake. Advantages of the method usedby Donatos were that they were able to gauge the level of customerinterest in the new product through surveys, and they obtainedresults from researching about the product. Disadvantages associatedwith this method is that it is time-consuming and expensive(Manmohan, 2010).
The measurement scale is a major factor in computing data collectedduring the in-restaurant product tests. I would have used the ordinaland constant sum scales. The ordinal scale is used to rank/orderobservations. Comments about the new product ranked according toattributes such as price, quality, product, service delivery,ambiance, space, hygiene and other variants. In support of theordinal scale would be the constant sum scale that sorts andorganizes a variety of options (Early, 2012). With similar attributesas those in the ordinal scale being maintained, three differentsegments are added to each attribute to gauge the average responsesof the sections. The scales measure the customer response to the newproduct.
Early, R. (2012). Guide to quality management systems for the foodindustry. New York, NY: Springer Science Business Media, LLC.
Manmohan, R. (2010). Managing innovations and new productdevelopment. S.l.: Phi Learning.
Schindler, S.P. (2004). Donatos: Finding the New Pizza. BusinessResearch Methods, 11e.