Food may be king, but customer experience is queen…and she wears the pants in the relationship.
The quick service restaurant industry experienced a full course of innovation over the past 3 years – increasing the number of delivery options, the expansion of digital technologies, and the proliferation of new loyalty tactics to name a few. To fight for market share from fast casual players, all quick service restaurants need to carefully evaluate the entire scope of their customer experience and which technologies are truly worth the investment.
While fast casual players have been trailblazers recently, QSRs are now moving back to the offense and these industry innovators will continue to differentiate themselves over the coming years.
Is Chipotle finally out of the weeds after the food-safety nightmare? Chipotle Mexican Grill has been changing the way it does business, hoping that it will, at last, be able to put the string of food-safety incidents behind it and lure back customers who ditched the brand. From adding chorizo to its already innovative menu and launching its biggest advertising campaign ever to push online and mobile ordering – the brand continues to find innovative ways to steal back market share from a growing list of competitors.
Considered the “Chipotle of pizza” Blaze Pizza has become the fastest growing restaurant chain in American history. In four years, Blaze Pizza has rocketed from two to 200 locations across North America and it has no plans of slowing down anytime soon. In the dining rooms of its nearly 200 locations, emblazoned are the words “Unfollow the rules.” The brand’s outside-the-box internship program, “what you see is what you get” menu and nearly 100% franchising model, allowing for speedy expansion, cohesively paint the picture of the pizza chain of the future.
With the longest tenure of the three, McDonald’s has seen its fair share of struggles with evolving consumer expectations around convenience and overall customer experience. In 2016, the fast food chain brought its “McDonald’s of the Future” concept to market. The new store offers self-serving options, new technology enabling its kitchens to produce fresh, made-to-order food and tablets for customers to use at the tables. At the heart of this transformation is the keen understanding of what customers truly want and how those expectations span across both online and offline channels. McDonald’s understands that customers want hyper-connected, always-on and personalized experiences, which is why the fast food chain is blazing towards its true north, digital transformation.
Digital disruption is ubiquitous – in order to survive, brands need to get on board or risk getting thrown off track. Organizations must understand that great food isn’t enough these days, to achieve sustainable differentiation, customer experience must be the focal point of your strategy.