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Data Driven QSR Customer Experience and Innovation: Part I

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Data Driven QSR Customer Experience and Innovation: Part I

Food for Thought

When I think about fast food, I am reminded of road trips as a kid with my family. A 2-day drive from Los Angeles to Detroit to visit family...no problem, we were road warriors and grabbed our food to go. And now I’m doing the same with my family…though more modest distances to be sure. Nowadays, whether we’re stopping to grab a burger or sandwich or even that occasional milkshake to my kids delight, I often forget that I am doing commerce with a progressive and increasingly data driven organization.

With the advent of digital customer loyalty programs, mobile ordering, social media interactions, and smart point-of-sales systems, it’s clear that quick service restaurant (QSR) franchises are focusing on innovation and making major investments in how they interact with customers. But be clear…it is a major investment and like any investment, corporations want to maximize their return and realize the benefits as quickly as possible.

Many of the national household QSR brands and the smaller regional QSRs are deploying pilot programs in various markets (innovation hubs) to test these systems and determine the best methods to coordinate them into a comprehensive customer experience. But for certain, one size does not fit all and the the best way forward is to collect, measure, analyze, hypothesize, and test to drive continuous improvement. The challenge of course is that data being collected from different POS systems, mobile ordering, social media sources, etc. does not magically combine itself and reveal those key trends and insights, preventing franchises from analyzing their performance, forming an hypothesis, and testing those theories.

In other words, cross-source data collection, measurement, and analysis must be designed in as a key requirement of these innovative QSR pilot programs, because without this “telemetry,” restaurant franchises will be less able to truly understand the impact of their innovations, how they work together, and will be at a disadvantage deploying them into new markets. QSR organizations that “design-in" the cross-source data collection, measurement, and analytics into their pilot programs will create a competitive advantage when considering how to expand in existing markets and enter new markets with a faster ROI.

DataTalk: QSR Innovation, Trends & Opportunities

Once the analysis has been performed, QSRs will be in much better position to identify trends and hypothesize on the cause, either to root out causes causing poor performance or identify causes driving increased performance. Regardless, opinions will be formed based on data and analysis which will serve to better guide the deployment of innovation. With these hypothesis in hand, QSRs can launch into new markets or even expand in existing markets and then as the hypothesis is tested, repeat the cycle of data collection, measurement, and analysis to drive continuous improvement, maximizing the potential of investments in innovation.

Consider, if trends in experimental menus and/or mobile ordering can be identified that impact customer loyalty and customer sentiment by metropolitan or suburban location types with similar socioeconomic characteristics, those companies will be able to launch into new markets with a much faster return-on-investment because it is no longer an experiment, but rather a highly targeted deployment based on detailed data and analysis.

Franchise corporations are in a position to learn a great deal about their markets and drive greater innovation success predictably by analyzing these multiple data sources (POS, mobile ordering, social media, customer loyalty, etc), but in the next blog posting, we’ll take a look at how to drive even greater overall franchise performance by putting this information in the hands of the individual franchise owners and managers, given them the same tools to analyze, hypothesize, and test to drive continuous improvement.

The next time I drive up to the ordering window or walk into the store and stand a new ordering kiosk, I’ll be thinking about the 1’s and 0’s flowing through the restaurant’s infrastructure and how with the right analysis, that QSR will be better able to delight its customers and keep them coming back for more.

Let’s Connect: #RFIS16 and Beyond

Join the GoodData team on March 29 - April 1st in Dallas, TX at the Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit. I’m moderating a panel on How to Create a Franchise-Friendly Supply Chain to discuss and explore these trends in more depth. Let’s connect on Twitter @GoodData and @wcreekba; follow the conversation with #RFIS16 and #UnlockDataValue.

Written by GoodData Author  | 

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