Many quick-service restaurants (QSRs) already evolved key aspects of the customer experience before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Kiosks replaced cashiers and drive-thru displays went digital at some restaurants to offer customers more personalized and efficient experiences. Many franchisees also improved their delivery offering and mobile ordering experience to serve customers where it was convenient for them.
But new customer behavior, like reliance on drive-thru, mobile ordering and delivery have forced a major rethink of even these digital innovations, in addition to how these restaurants will adapt to the new normal in the months and years ahead.
What defines a great QSR experience?
Like most industries, QSRs need to change their business model and operations now to be successful in a digital-first world.
Here are four ways QSRs can enhance their guest experience:
- Focus on the holistic customer and crew experience. QSRs need to instill trust and confidence by reevaluating the customer journey through the lens of both guests and employees
- Build trust by communicating your changes loud and proud. Amplify your message about the positive changes you’ve implemented to support your customers and crew
- Create a smart kitchen. Integrate automation and artificial intelligence into back-end operations
- Streamline operations. Rethink the role of the storefront as drive-thru, delivery and mobile ordering dominate the QSR industry
Focus on the holistic customer and crew experience
As QSRs bolster drive-thru and on-premises digital touchpoints, like digital menu boards, ordering kiosks and more, it’s important to rethink new customer and employee experience journeys together through the lens of both the employee and the customer.
For example, AI-powered voice ordering can reduce stress on customer service employees, but if glitches in the technology frustrate customers, this innovation could have the opposite effect.
Owners should recognize that staff shortages in the restaurant industry aren’t ending, despite inflation or economic strains. Restaurant brands with the best employee experiences also have the top customer experiences, due to fair wages, easy-to-use and up-to-date POS systems and successful change management procedures with new employee technology.