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How to Improve QSR Guest Experience with Data From the Field

How to Improve QSR Guest Experience with Data From the Field

With the restaurant industry facing many challenges, the big question remains: How can QSR brands improve guest experiences?

If you missed our latest webinar, Mellow Mushroom’s Kevin Sugarman, Director of Operations Services, and Intouch Insight’s President & CEO Cameron Watt shed light on this topic.

These industry experts discussed how to use data to enhance guest experiences and their impact on store operations, employee training, and franchise performance. They also explored data from Intouch Insight's QSR studies on how friendliness affects the guest experience. 

If you missed the webinar, keep reading to learn about the key takeaways.

You can watch the full webinar by clicking the link here. (The webinar is only 30 minutes long.)

Optimizing QSR Guest Experience Through Data

In restaurants, good food alone isn't enough to keep customers happy. In fact, a study by Deloitte found that having friendly staff is the most important factor for a good restaurant experience. 

Mellow Mushroom uses mystery shopping, surveys, and sentiment analysis to understand customer interactions. “The data allows us to identify where to deploy resources, guiding the operations to where to focus,” explains Sugarman.

Taking A Data-Driven Approach to Improve Guest Experiences

Although mystery shopping and customer surveys collect data on guest experience, they measure different aspects of the business. 

Mystery shopping programs measure the field execution against the brand standards. On the other hand, customer feedback surveys evaluate the customer's perception of their interaction.

For instance, let's consider a restaurant running mystery shopping and customer surveys. Both indicate that part of the operations needs improvement on cleanliness. What should you do next?

Restaurant operators need to consider a few things before jumping to a conclusion:

  • Are locations executing the brand standards, but the customer standards are different?
  • Are there any capital or structural problems?
  • Are employees following brand standards? 

The key is identifying the root cause of dissatisfaction first and then taking action to resolve it.

Curious about mystery shopping and how it can improve QSR guest experiences? Our Mystery Shopping guide is here.

Empowering Franchise Performance

Mellow Mushroom operates with 95% of its locations being franchises. Integrating mystery Shopping data is essential to manage and improve franchisee performance in such business models. 

By getting data from the field, brands can gain a broad view of their operations, deliver consistent experiences, and act to promote a culture of continuous improvement. 

As Sugarman explains, embracing this data-driven approach moves operations forward. “Franchise owners and operators understand that it's all about them, and it's a tool for them to get better and strive for perfection every day.”

Understanding the Impact of Friendliness on Guest Experience

As part of our mystery shopping studies, we ask shoppers to rate their interactions with employees. Our research shows that key restaurant metrics improve when interactions are rated as friendly, as seen below.

  • In the Coffee Market Study, friendly service led to an 8% increase in order accuracy and a 16% increase in customer satisfaction.
  • The Chicken Market Study, which focused on restaurants that sell bone-in chicken, showed that friendly service increased order accuracy by 20%.
  • In our 2023 Annual Drive-Thru Study, friendly service led to an 18% increase in order accuracy and an 84% increase in satisfaction. In addition, it was 34 seconds faster than unfriendly service.

It is important to remember that guests' perceptions of friendliness can differ. So, brands should consider using objective and subjective feedback for a more accurate assessment of guest experience.

In our 2023 Drive-thru study, we considered the impact of employee behavior on friendliness scores. The results speak for themselves:

  • Having a pleasant demeanor: +12%
  • Smiling: +17%
  • Making eye contact: +15%
  • Saying thank you: +11%
  • Saying please: +19%
  • Saying both thank you and please: +20%
  • Saying both thank you and please while smiling: +20%

Making Every Guest The Most Important One

Mystery Shopping isn't only about identifying operational gaps. It's about discovering opportunities for growth. However, how can restaurant operators achieve this?  

According to Watt, it's crucial to map out the customer journey and identify key touchpoints where customers interact with a brand. 

This understanding will help decision-makers to determine what needs to be measured and how to do it. "By doing so, brands can identify what matters to customers and the factors that impact friendliness," Watt explains. 

Company culture plays a vital role in shaping guest experiences. At Mellow Mushroom, managers are trained on how to create a positive culture within their teams. "Friendliness is a piece of culture. If you have a great culture, friendliness will come naturally," Sugarman explains.

If you want to hear more from our speakers, you can watch the webinar 'How to Improve QSR Guest Experience with Data From the Field' here.

Need some help improving guest experiences ? Let's chat!

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