If you haven’t seen The Founder on Netflix, grab some popcorn (or french fries) and cancel whatever you had planned tonight . Directed by John Hancock, The Founder details the story of how Ray Kroc (played by Michael Keaton) took a small burger joint in Southern California and made it the most iconic Quick Serve Restaurant of all time.
SPOILER ALERT: Kroc crushes it.
The Founder taught me a thing or two about the nature of Quick Serve Restaurants and how they’ve come to change the way the world eats. In McDonald’s case, the key was shorter production time — burgers, milkshakes and fries ready in 30 seconds instead of 30 minutes. Consumers craved quality food fast and Kroc delivered, further streamlining the business by lowering costs and scaling through franchise. But efficiency has plateaued, and QSRs are using different means to connect with their audiences.
The increase in digital services due to our rapidly developing on-demand economy has created the need for QSRs to identify their diners, both to expand these services (i.e. order ahead) and maintain satisfaction (i.e. third-party delivery).
It’s been over six decades since Kroc founded McDonalds Systems, Inc. and consumer expectations didn’t freeze in time. QSR’s lagging in delivery services and experiences for the contemporary customer experience are falling by the wayside as their competitors evolve to fit the needs of millennials and the up-and-coming Generation Z.
Here are a few examples of QSRs that are doing it right:
McDonald’s has recently partnered with UberEATS to meet the demands of the “gotta have it now” generations. (1) To promote this collaboration with UberEATS, they rolled out “McDelivery” swag with a shocking amount of novelty value. Ebay prices for these Big Mac onesies are now up to an astonishing $200. Now you can enjoy the guilty pleasure of a Big Mac in 20-30 minutes without having to leave your couch (or your onesie).
Millennials and Gen Z are using disposable income for experiences. The trend toward experiential consumption lends itself to social sharing in restaurants. (2)
Starbucks’ has an incredibly successful loyalty program praised as one of the best mobile experiences out there. They are confidently touting 13 million active users and showing 16% increase year over year. Mobile payment and mobile orders make up to 7% of total Starbucks orders in the US alone. (3)
Panera Bread is a different story – with a whopping 21M active members, their card-based program offers rewards with free food and bakery items, invitations to special events, recipe books, and more. 50% of the company’s transactions occur on MyPanera cards. (3)
30% of millennials prefer earning points based on the money they spend at QSRs. (2)
Dunkin’ Donuts uses their DDPERKS Rewards Program to tap into the 52% of millennials that use loyalty programs offered by coffee shops. And clearly the program is working to boost loyalty and engagement because it boasted 7M active users of 2016. (3)
As the wants of Millennial and Gen Z consumers morph, so must QSR offerings. Delivery aggregators, loyalty programs and Wifi all play their parts in creating an experience younger generations can appreciate.