Customer experience is the biggest factor responsible for the success of restaurants, especially quick service restaurants. Restaurant staff have always been the primary point of contact and their interaction determines the guest’s experience. Even though technology has provided a lot of convenient options from ordering to payments, nothing can replace the human factor. This is why restaurants need to invest in their people to ensure success and customer retention in the coming months.
What Do Customers Expect From Staff Interactions?
From a recent study conducted by Big Red Roosters to identify customer experience, it was found that employees are the essential drivers of the brand experience. 57% of consumers stated that restaurant employees have the most control over the experiences, which is almost double the level of control perceived held by the brand itself. Interestingly, only 18% of the respondents shared that incorporating technology to reduce dependence on employees would be amongst the top three things that brands can pursue to impact service. 57% of consumers stated that restaurant employees have the most control over the experiences, which is almost double the level of control perceived held by the brand itself. Despite the digital transformation of businesses witnessed during and after the Covid pandemic, it is reassuring to see that the human component of the service industry still managed to retain its value.
Technology is only as good as the people who use it and more than often, interacting with a person is a better experience than interacting with digital systems. When it comes to staff interactions, 58% of consumers shared they preferred interacting with employees for navigating the menu. 59% of consumers prefer similar interaction for customizing their orders. While technology does offer immense customization, discussing customizations and recommendations with a person is a completely different experience. 50% of consumers prefer human interactions for making payments for their orders while 63% consumers prefer the interaction for receiving their orders.
Consumer perspective on the role of technology in driving QSR experience (Source: Essential Workers)
“Even in the age of online ordering and curbside pickup, humans have a major impact on brand experience,” said Emily Albright Miller, SVP of Strategy at Big Red Rooster. “As brands and operators look forward, they should consider how to leverage well-trained employees in key moments where human assistance can be reassuring, such as a custom order, or a moment of connection, such as presenting an order.”
“Technology should absolutely be in the pipeline, but it’s not an immediate answer. So how do we strike that balance? What’s missing most is care,” said Miller. “Just 25 percent of consumers rated QSR brands excellent in making them feel cared for as a guest on their recent visit. Above all, this reiterates the importance of human connection on brand experience.”
Key Service Attributes Driving QSR Experience
The study conducted by Big Red Rooster identified key service attributes that are driving the overall QSR experience. This result was derived from the survey of brands like Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, Culver’s, Jack in the Box, Krispy Kreme, McDonald’s, Papa John’s, Starbucks, and Taco Bell. The key service attributes identified are shown below.
Key service attributes most strongly correlated with the overall QSR experience (Source: Essential Workers)
It is interesting to note that all of the 6 key service attributes mentioned above are related to employees. This just emphasizes the importance of restaurant staff in ensuring and delivering superior brand experience. As most of you would agree, it is all about the “personal touch” and a “friendly gesture” that encourages guests to revisit restaurants and strengthen the brand loyalty.
Factors Driving Negative QSR Experience
While employees are the key driving force behind guest experience at restaurants, it is important to invest in the people. By ignoring key aspects of employee experience, there is a great risk of negative QSR experience which could harm the brand value.
Based on the responses received for drivers of a negative QSR experience, consumers have shared the following attributes.
Factors responsible for negative QSR experience (Source: Essential Workers)
Restaurants need to manage their budget better by not only investing in technology, but also investing in their employees. By providing them a good environment and also enabling them to perform better, restaurants can be prepared for any challenge that may come their way.
Enable People With Technology for Superior QSR Experience
The pandemic may have brought forth the importance of digital transformation for restaurants, but the need for adoption of technology was already prevalent in Gen Z and Millennials. Gen Z are the ones who have the most inclination towards the use of technology for making their work and life easier. The workforce today comprises mainly of millennials and Gen Z and organizations need to consider equipping them with the right tools and technology solutions for enabling them to perform better.
Workpulse has always ensured that its technology solutions do not exclude the role and importance of employees. In fact, the entire Workpulse platform has been designed to empower people to perform better, take the right decisions based on metrics, and streamline the process through the implementation of a digital system. We believe in investing in people and helping them become more efficient. The Workpulse Platform seamlessly synchronizes PEOPLE, PROCESS, and PRODUCTIVITY by leveraging technology.
To know how Workpulse helped 3500+ restaurants deliver superior experience, contact us for a demo of our platform.