The Service Triangle Framework is a dynamic model outlining relationships between three interlinked groups: Company, Customer, and Employees. These three parties may engage in three corresponding types of marketing: external (Company and Customer – “making promises”), internal (between Company and Employees – “enabling promises”), and interactive (Employees and Customer – “keeping promises”). A promise stands for customer assurance about the fact that the services offered by the organization will be delivered following the set quality and time standards.
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The analysis of the business model of Pret a Manger using the framework reveals the following:
- External marketing. As indicated in the case, the company actively interacts with its target customers, staying informed about their needs and satisfying them when it is possible. Stating that their number one advantage is “quality, speed, and genuineness of service,” Pret a Manger lives up to this promise. First, it provided high-quality food, having no preservatives, artificial flavors, or colors, and prepared on-site. Second, the pricing is reasonable so that a wide range of customers can afford the product. Third, the brand name itself (“ready to eat”) functions as a promotion element. Finally, the product is marketed in the right place, where the customer needs it.
- Internal marketing. Another strength of the company’s strategy is its HR policy. In order to enable promises made to customers, Pret a Porter hires more employees than needed, which allows minimizing throughput time. Moreover, the turnover rates are remarkably low as compared to other firms from the sector. The concept “by the people, of the people, and for the people” suggests that the organization has a supportive attitude to its employees in all aspects, which is proven by the fact that many of them remain loyal to it even if they did not intend to stay for long. The firm not only shares its goals with the workforce but also gives employees a final say in hiring decisions. Besides, they are provided with training opportunities, bonuses, and even entertainment. The culture is, therefore, communal.
- Interactive marketing. The service provided by employees of Pret a Manger is famous for its unquestionable excellence, attention, and personal involvement. It is a common case when customers build personal relationships with employees—the latter offer free coffee and pastries to regular clients. What is even more important is that they display friendliness, enthusiasm, and genuine interest in each customer.
As far as “twin shops” are concerned, I am against this business model in the form in which it exists at present. The major reason for this is that the policy disrupts external marketing due to the company’s failure to live up to its promise to prepare the food in shops. The customer’s trust is very hard to win and easy to lose. If regular clients feel deceived, they are likely to change their priorities and opt for another fast-food network.
Furthermore, losing the on-the-spot element, the chain deprives itself of one of its key competitive advantages. Another problem is connected with the reduced selection of products due to trolley drops. However, the strategy may be made tolerable if the company considers rebranding (making twin store products differently branded than those from mother stores, e.g., Express Food) and provides sufficient proof that the food is fresh regardless of the fact that it comes from the twinning store.