What a difference a year makes. Coming out of the pandemic, consumers were ready to resume real-world experiences such as shopping, events, travel, and restaurants. But what happened during that time forever changed what customers want from those experiences. Fast forward to today, and it’s clear that the pandemic has advanced our desire to better connect our digital and physical experiences, as we’ve become more savvy with the role technology plays in our lives.
Fortunately, fast food brands are integrating technology to meet today’s need to better serve customers and provide employees with tools that enhance and enhance their own experience. Here are some insights into how the customer experience has changed and where these new consumer behaviors will lead.
A change in the dining experience
The size of the dining room has been shrinking for quite some time now, and this trend continues to grow. Just a few years ago, fast-food brands were broadcasting public commercial television into the dining room to try to keep customers there. Today, that’s all changed as they take steps to reduce dwell times and minimize dining.
This shift in dining experience is the result of drive-thru, which now captures around 80% of all quick-service revenue, as customers are more likely to want to drive-thru or take an order. So essentially, many brands are working to retain employees, reduce or eliminate the dining room experience, and serve customers where they want to be, which is primarily in service. driving.
Innovation through technology
To meet the growing demand for drive-thru, where you don’t always have that face-to-face experience, brands need to implement new tools and solutions to stay connected. But being on the cutting edge means there will be bumps along the way. When you get into the details, all brands are racing to implement new technologies to better serve their customers.
For example, when you start integrating AI, you run into problems in the system, such as language barriers or even regional accents, and not everyone speaks with proper dictation or uses the same common words. As a result, the AI doesn’t always pick up the command accurately. The systems exist, but some owner-operators are finding that they could use some fine-tuning. So, rather than a sprint, fast services may see a longer race to implement technologies that can be profitable and deliver intelligence, precision, and clarity.
The analytics surrounding it are perhaps even more crucial than the AI technology itself. Restaurants are figuring out how to manage efficiencies, adding timer technology and, in some cases, tying everything to the order confirmation board. Essentially, they’re looking for answers to questions like, what are we going to do about our car starts and what are we going to do to get five more cars through that lane at lunchtime?
Meeting the expectations of today’s customers
Previously, the customer experience began when the customer walked into the dining room of the quick service restaurant. Today, that experience begins when they walk into the entrance of the property and get that first impression. During the pandemic, the technology has advanced considerably, but it has not necessarily been deployed yet. Along with this progress, customer expectations have also begun to evolve. If I can get this experience online, why can’t I get it in the real world?
Over the next 24 months, Rapid Services will determine how to implement, deploy and support new technologies that bring these two worlds together. together and respond to recent changes in customer behavior. As therefore, older generation technology will need to be replaced with newer technology.
Provide a consistent customer experience
The next evolution of quick service restaurants is to engage the customer in some way through social media so that brands can capture analytics on their customers’ prowess and buying tendencies. This may involve the systematic use of QR codes, where stores can capture the attention of the 15-25 year old crowd and use the information gathered to build a personal relationship with them.
In just one example of using an experience to create a more personalized messaging approach, McDonald’s recently posted a phone number on its social media channels encouraging consumers to text the number and add it to their contacts. By doing so, McDonald’s can share better personalized promotional offers and ultimately receive insights that may lead to more conversions.
As fast services adapt to a changing landscape, they will find new ways to engage and connect with customers, meet their needs, and provide a more advanced experience. Harnessing technology that bridges the digital to the physical, incorporating new digital displays, improving audio response and communications, and integrating flavors that drive product interest will help satisfy customers of today and tomorrow.
David Vance is the Vice President of QSR, Mood Media. Vance has a wealth of experience which began his career in 1996 at Muzak as an AE then as Regional Sales Manager and then at DMX as VP Sales Eastern. Combined with his past 15 years as VP of Sales and most recently VP of QSR at Mood, David brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique skill set to building high performing sales teams. David is based in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he has lived for 13 years with his family.
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