Recently, Testpoint selected the participants for a very particular market research: there were four focus groups in which respondents tested and evaluated two different “business” menus, prepared in the central location specifically for them by the chef of a well-known chain of restaurants.

A focus group to test a menu

There are now many restaurants that offer, for lunch or sometimes even dinner, “business” menus, that is, those menus designed for people who work and who however wish to have a quick meal during their lunch break or at the end of the working day, a quick but complete meal, dishes that are light but nutritious and varied, and, above all, at an accessible price.

Well, would you have imagined that these menus, before being launched, are tested by consumers to find out their impressions, take their criticisms into consideration and, possibly, “adjust the aim”?

This is exactly what Testpoint recently did for a well-known restaurant chain, organizing four focus groups, two in Rome and two in Milan, for the evaluation of two different complete menus.

The focus group is a market research technique that is used when you have to carry out qualitative research. These are conversations with groups of 8-10 people generally lasting 120 minutes in which the moderator, following a discussion guide, invites participants to honestly express their opinions. The objective is to understand the motivations that guide consumer’s choices.

The peculiarity of the research we are talking about today is that the client company sent its Chef to prepare the menus directly in Testpoint’s Milan and Rome offices: the participants were therefore able to taste the dishes prepared for them on the spot and served with the same methods with which they are served in restaurants.

In each of the two cities the two “business menus” were tasted: a menu A and a menu B in Milan and the same in Rome. Each focus group, which lasted 180 minutes, was attended by 8 people, men and women of different ages, who, for work reasons, eat in a restaurant at least once a week and who prefer to have a complete, freshly cooked meal instead of the usual sandwich or pizza.

The tasting of each dish was followed by a short discussion led by the moderator, while, at the end of the meal, there was a detailed discussion on the entire menu and on the quality-price ratio.