The Research Design Applied by Donatos for New Product Development


The Research Design Applied by Donatos for New Product Development

Chapter 8 of the textbook gives a thorough discussion of the various descriptors of research design. This chapter provides the framework and various procedures for research activity that can be applied by different businesses based on the objective of the research. Donatos, for example, applies various strategies as their research design for the development of new products. The company, for instance, can be said to take exploratory steps such as the monthly Wassup meetings, observations made from the data collected from various sources on the changes in eating trends that are being recorded in the rapidly evolving industry. Ultimately, the comments received by email from the customers who are kind enough to give their feedback (Schindler, 2004).

A fitting reference to the design adopted by Donatos in the development of a new product is the introduction of the low-carb craze that was aimed at tapping into the population that is moving towards an age that is health conscious. Majority of consumers are steadily becoming skeptics of fast food and the rising obesity levels observed in the modern culture (Schindler, 2004). The development process began with the development of a prototype that was immediately followed by the development of concepts that were aimed at conducting successful taste testing and screening within the employee and other personnel crowd. Based on the success or failure of this step the company had to resolve on whether to proceed with the concept. In this case the concept that had been recognized by the company was the dough free pizza (Schindler, 2004). Based on the success of the taste testing and screening of this concept, the company had to proceed to the naming process of the new product. Now that the new pizza name has been developed and the entire management has settled on the name, No-dough, they proceed to the tests that are conducted within the parent restaurant (Schindler, 2004). The reception of the new pizza would hence determine whether the company would resolve to further the tests in two additional restaurants within the chain. The in-restaurant tests would also include surveys where a selected group of participants would be asked to complete an intercept survey that would be self-administered to ascertain their level of satisfaction. The restaurant also enjoys another group of consumers that are represented in the company strategy as delivery customers. This group of customers would also participate in the surveys through a categorical callback phone survey that would involve a random selection of customers (Schindler, 2004).

An Evaluation of the Wassup Meetings as an Exploratory Methodology That Helps In Defining the Research Question

It is essential to note that an exploratory methodology plays a key role in the research process since it provides a productive strategy that assists in expanding knowledge about the problems and the workable solutions that can serve as alternatives in solving the problems identified. In this case, Donatos uses wassup meetings as a forum for creating opportunities for the company personnel to brainstorm and bring forward their knowledge of element that is based on popular culture which in turn can be digested and evaluated based on its effects on Donato (Sekaran & Bougie 2016).

The meetings were interpreted as exploratory steps that were undertaken by the company to serve the knowledge gap that would be the barrier in identifying the dilemma brought by the interest of the public in low-carb diets and how to address this market need. The meetings were intended to provide additional insight into the dynamic changes of the cultural and social media trends besides supplementing reviews provided by other sources such as monitoring of eating trends and feedbacks provided via email.

The meetings are important to Donatos in the sense that they help in the gathering of essential information regarding the market from the immediate stakeholders, the employees who have constantly proven to offer a much-needed input in the product development process. With the help of this information, the management can blend a strategic synthesis of data that can best determine how company decisions affect the general public that is targeted at the immediate consumer and persons from a diverse group of cultures. The feedback collected from the meetings can also be essential when it comes to tailoring the questions that will be posed for research purposes especially the exploration of knowledge from diverse cultures (Sekaran & Bougie 2016). Some examples of questions that can be derived from the process include; should the company introduce No dough pizza to satisfy the demand from the low-carb diet market? Or should the concept be modified?

Evaluation of the Test Market Used by Donatos

Donatos mainly used customer reactions from two main outlets in one market as a test market. This test market raises several reliability concerns. The first concern is the reliability of one city as a target market. This approach is rarely used since it is considered biased by most experts in the industry. The data collected will be sensitive to the specific geographical region in which the information was collected (Ross, Westerfield & Firer, 2000). The other point of concern is the way the test was conducted. Despite the test being undertaken for several days in the respective stores, no promotion was carried out to attract the new group of customers targeted by the new development. The introduction of many food products in the market is traditionally done through the inception of promotional activities such as sampling and discounts. The problem with this approach is that the sample collected from the customers might not be indicative of the priorities and preferences of the targeted profile of potential customers (Ross, Westerfield & Firer, 2000).

The final concern is that in most ideal experiments, test products are created under closely monitored and controlled conditions or environments. Other test markets, however, prefer the application of actual market conditions that limit the possibility of control (Ross, Westerfield & Firer, 2000). This case, however, does not observe either of this approaches with a lack of structure in the experiment, for example, the No dough pizzas are prepared by inexperienced employees that were between the ages of 16-17 years (Schindler, 2004). Lack of professionalism in the experiment would result in inconsistencies that would affect the accuracy of the result. The study identifies several advantages and disadvantages of using this test market.

In-Restaurant Tests


Minimized research costs

Faster data collection rates

Minimal supervision is required which translates to lesser manpower

The need for expensive product-testing facilities is eliminated


The walk-in customers offer a misrepresentation of information required since that is not the target market.


Call-Back Phone Surveys


Feedback is collected from a wider range of customers

Provides the ability to reach customers that could be initially considered inaccessible

Anonymity helps in the collection of unbiased information even if it is negative


Non-response error might be too large since Donatos cannot be certain that all customers selected will be willing to participate in the survey

There is a lack of motivation for the customers to participate

What Measurement Scales Would You Have Used in the Survey Used as Part of the In-Restaurant Product Tests?

One can begin by outlining the various scales used in rating and ranking that may prove to be appropriate for in-restaurant tests. Such sample rating scales include the Likert or Numerical scale where the product can be evaluated based on how the product is liked or disliked through a simplified form of rating. Paired comparison scales can then be used as an effective measurement scale. This strategy would prove to be essential since other types of pizzas could be developed using the low-carb ingredients after feedback is collected from the customers and comparisons are made based on preferences.

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