It was once said by Dave Thomas, Philanthropist and Founder of Wendy’s, “it all comes back to the basics. Serve customers the best-tasting food at a good value in a clean, comfortable restaurant, and they’ll keep coming back.”
Today, this still holds true for quick service restaurants (QSRs), as more and more customers search for exceptional experiences and delicious food. Yet, with new competition emerging and customer preferences constantly in flux, retaining customers and building loyalty can prove to be more difficult.
Measuring the customer experience then becomes an integral way to understand customer needs and expectations. It’s a tactic used in many QSRs already, and can help cater establishment service towards customers using feedback and metrics directly from them.
Evidently, within the quick service restaurant industry, there are a number of metrics and areas one could measure. In this post we take a look into the critical elements to measure the customer experience effectively to see greater success in your restaurant.
Here are the four critical drivers of customer satisfaction that should be on every QSR’s radar.
QSR customer experience metrics
- Speed of Service
- Food Quality
- Service Quality
1. Speed of Service
Regardless of the type of food you offer, the demographic you cater to or your restaurant’s location, as a quick service restaurant, speed of service is among one of the highest expectations customers will have.
Speed of service refers to the time it takes to service a customer, from the moment they walk into an establishment. This means there are a number of moving variables that can affect a restaurant’s speed of service, including: team preparedness, product availability, peak hours, meal preparation, and more. These all should be taken into consideration when measuring your speed of service.
For QSRs speed of service is integral to gaining customer loyalty. For customers, a slow, cumbersome experience can annoy and deter them from re-visiting your establishment. By measuring speed of service, your business can better understand its operations including efficiency of staff, peak hours of your restaurant and how to schedule teams for a streamlined experience.
2. Food Quality
When customers go to a quick service restaurant, they expect delicious food at an affordable price. Which means measuring the quality of your food is of the utmost importance for customer satisfaction.
Food quality refers to the standard of food provided to the customer. It, like speed of service, is made up of many variables including, taste, texture, sourcing, presentation, etc. With food quality, if one or more of the aforementioned factors is not up to customer standard, food quality can be deemed “low” or “subpar” and not entice a repeat visit.
Food quality plays a large role in QSR success, especially with the intensifying health and wellness standards. For customers today, it’s not only about the taste but also the sourcing of your food and the presentation. Customers are increasingly looking for unique experiences that put their health at the forefront – and although decision makers may argue the food is high quality, it’s always vital to get the customer’s opinion and learn what they value as high quality.
3. Service Quality
According to a recent American Express survey, “7 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service.”
For many customers, employees who greet and share friendly recommendations, are ultimately the ones who encourage them to return and spread the word of their excellent experience. They’re the face of your restaurant, the ones who interact with customers one-on-one, so it’s important that you train your employees to maintain a positive and welcoming attitude.
For QSRs, measuring service quality is a great way to gain insight on your employees including, greater insight on employee behaviour, the success of employee training, and to pinpoint leaders and laggers of your business. All these variables can be substantially useful in shift scheduling or any sit down 1:1’s throughout the week.
When it comes to leaving a lasting impression with your customers, cleanliness and standard of environment is vital for success. Of course for sanitation purposes, your restaurant should always be maintained. However, having a continuous customer perspective can assist you in raising your standards regularly and ensuring that any work towards maintaining cleanliness is completed to exceed expectations.
Throughout the QSR experience there are many points at which a customer can judge the cleanliness of your overall establishment including entryway, hostess stand, bathrooms, kitchen, the bar, drive-thru window, parking lot, and more. When generating your survey it’s important to keep this in mind, as your questions can be tailored to a specific area or the entire establishment.
For QSRs, measuring cleanliness can assist greatly in customer retention. It is a powerful way to see if your employees are actually maintaining their space, in addition to ensuring your resources and capital are allocated accordingly.
How To Measure CX In Your QSR
Today there are a number of elements that have shifted the way customers interact with quick service restaurants and the type of service they expect. From online ordering to immediate service to drive-thru preferences, using the aforementioned metrics has proven to be one of the most effective ways to understand the constant evolution of customers expectations.
Measurement can be conducted in a number of ways such as one-on-one conversations with customers, emailed surveys, kiosk surveys, tablet surveys, in-app surveys and more. Each method houses their own unique characteristics and can elicit their own number of responses, so it’s important to select one that suits your customers and location.
After deciding on a method of survey deployment, it’s time to uncover the types of questions to ask your customers. For QSRs it’s important that all the questions entice customers and can help you understand your restaurant to improve the overall quality of service. Remember to keep the survey short, ask only what you want to know and make the survey simple to read and fill out.
Using customer feedback and measuring along the way, you can tailor your service to customers in a way that resonates with them. This feedback not only provides insight into customer expectations but also operational improvements and strategy building for the future.
How Loop Helps Quick-Service and Fast Casual Restaurants Succeed
When it comes to elevating the customer experience through data driven metrics, the loop platform helps operational leaders and teams at quick-service and fast casual restaurants go the extra mile. By deploying multiple channels, including kiosks (which collect high volumes of feedback), QSRs are able to collect meaningful data across numerous locations and manage all of their channels effortlessly.
With live feedback, scoreboards, and real-time capabilities frontline employees are empowered to take quick action to make improvements on any of the four key drivers of satisfaction identified above.
Heat maps and scoreboards also help operational leaders and management make data driven decisions around allocating resources and provides them with a quick view of the overall performance of multiple locations. For example, If friendliness of service is an area that customers rate extremely poorly in comparison to other areas, teams can begin to focus efforts on employee training.
As more and more customers call for exceptional experiences, it becomes imperative that quick service restaurants find ways to navigate through growing competition and changing customer demands. Using measurement and the aforementioned 4 key areas of measurement, understanding the customer becomes easier and providing exceptional experiences becomes routine.