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Five Restaurant Brands Delivering Killer Customer Experience

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Are you looking for ways to improve overall customer experience?

Customer experience is more than just providing good customer service, it’s the sum of all interactions a customer has with a company. It includes their interaction with employees, the atmosphere of the store and the value they perceive of the product or service they’re purchasing.

So, how do you improve customer experience? Here are a few examples from some of the top brands in the restaurant industry.  

1. Let your customers drive your operations

Listen to what customers want, and then use that insight to optimize your operations.

For McDonald’s, popularity and appreciation for egg mcmuffins across all locations accounts for roughly 25% of their sales. For years, loyal McDonald’s customers begged to see breakfast served all day, but this never happened. Due to busy locations, kitchen size, and the equipment required for both meals, it would have cost too much money and time for all locations to implement such a large, operational change.

Finally in October 2015, new CEO Steve Easterbrook, rolled out all-day breakfast across the United States. Doing so required large investments in equipment replacements and separate grills and toasters for hamburgers and egg mcmuffins.

Despite operational changes, launching all-day breakfast increased same stores sales by 5.7% in the last three months of 2015, the largest sales jump McDonald’s has seen in almost four years.

2. Meet or exceed customer expectations

In 2016, Dunkin’ Donuts was recognized as a top brand for consumer engagement by the Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Index. The brand creates loyal customers by always meeting customer expectations for taste, service, brand value and quality.

Chris Fuqua, Vice President of Brand Marketing, explains “our guests are loyal to Dunkin’ Donuts because of the many ways we work to give them an unsurpassed guest experience.”

So how do you meet all of your varied and unique customer’s expectations? To increase the value their customers perceive, they try to exceed expectations in three ways:

  • Offering 25,000 different ways to customize their coffee

  • Implementing new technology in the delivery process so customers can order faster

  • Encouraging people to be part of their rewards program 

3. Strengthen your brand image

Chick-Fil-A aims to tie their brand image to a higher value while making customers feel good about themselves. So, how do they do that?

Next time you go into Chick-Fil-A, you won’t hear “you’re welcome” or “no problem”. Instead, employees say “my pleasure”. President and COO Dan Cathy got the idea from his father who thought this response was something customers wouldn’t expect or were more likely to hear at a fancier, more prestigious establishment like Ritz Carlton.

This is why Chick-Fil-A was named “best drive-through in America” by the QSR journal the past two years in a row - they offer that personal touch that customers don’t expect from a fast-food restaurant.

4. Surprise your customers (in a good way!)

What makes your favourite restaurant your favourite? Often times, it’s the little things that really engage people.

What sets Five Guys apart from the rest? For every burger and fries ordered, employees dump an extra scoop of fries in your bag. They’re giving customers one and a half orders of fries for the price of one - every time.

Customers appreciate and acknowledge when they’re getting extra value. In reality, these ‘extra’ fries are budgeted for and accounted for, but serving them this way makes people think they’re receiving a special offer and saving money.

5. Do things properly the first time

Part of delivering customers with a great customer experience is completing things in a timely manner. In order to do that, Panera Bread focuses not only on getting things done quickly, but on getting things done properly.

Panera Bread wanted to correct botched orders. Their Chief Transformation and Growth Officer, Blaine Hurst, explained how they did this - by putting new checks in place to ensure customers receive their correct order.

  • New and improved buttons have been added to the workstations to indicate whether orders are modified or not, as that’s often the cause of botched orders

  • Employees repeat orders back to customers to receive verbal confirmation of each order

  • Expeditor checks the items off on the chit before signing it, confirming the order has been made correctly

Although these additional steps might seem like they add time to the order process, they work much faster and make customers happy. Hurst explains that by decreasing the error rate, you increase the speed of food preparation and avoid customers receiving incorrect orders.


In any industry, it’s important to put your customers first. Providing a good customer experience is crucial to your success. These five restaurants have come up with innovative ways to provide exceptional customer experience.  

  1. Let your customers drive your operations

  2. Meet or exceed customer expectations

  3. Strengthen your brand image 

  4. Surprise your customers (in a good way!)

  5. Do things properly the first time


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