Customer experience research unveils shortcomings in restaurant industry

Dec. 9, 2013

A new Experience Index released by ForeSee has compiled the feedback of more than 25,000 customers across numerous industries. Notably, however, just four restaurant brands reached scores high enough to make it into the report.

They include Pizza Hut, Starbucks, McDonald's and KFC. The report, however, says "while these four companies are well-known, none of them reaches the standard for excellence (a score of 80 or above)."

The ForeSee Experience Index features four scores: Satisfaction, Retention, Upsell, and Word of Mouth Index (WoMI).

  • For "Satisfaction" ratings, Pizza Hut scored 79, followed by Starbucks at 78, McDonald's, with 76 and KFC, with 72.
  • Retention rates were 83 at Pizza Hut, 80 at Starbucks, 81 at McDonald's and 78 at KFC.
  • Upsell scores and Word of Mouth Index were the lowest for these restaurant brands. Pizza Hut had a 66 and 50, respectively; followed by Starbucks, with 64 and 46; McDonald's, with 65 and 37; and KFC, with 59 and 36.

"Companies in this (restaurant) industry — those listed, and especially those not — need to take note and use a scientific methodology to measure and manage their customer experience in order to determine exactly where they are falling short in satisfying their customers," the report said.

Satisfied customers

Also, the Future Behavior Index compares less-satisfied customers (with Satisfaction scores of 69 or less) to highly satisfied customers (with Satisfaction scores of 80 or higher) of the top Hospitality & Food Services brands to produce likelihood scores of Future Behaviors. According to the report, highly satisfied customers of the top Hospitality & Food Services brands are:

  • Preference: 81 percent more likely to prefer the brand or company over others.
  • Retention: 64 percent more likely to continue doing business with the brand or company in the future.
  • Upsell: 98 percent more likely to purchase additional products or sign up for additional services from the brand or company.
  • Future Purchase: 75 percent more likely to purchase from the brand or company the next time they purchase the types of products the brand or company offers.
  • Recommend: 72 percent more likely to recommend the brand or company to someone else.
  • Trust: 72 percent more likely to count on this brand or company to act in their best interests, consider the brand or company to be trustworthy, and trust the brand or company to do what is right.

Satisfaction drivers

In order to increase sales, retention, and recommendations, brand executives need to know how to increase satisfaction, the report said. The ForeSee methodology measures several drivers and the methodology calculates the relative impact of various elements on overall satisfaction. The elements that will have the most impact on satisfaction (and, therefore, future behaviors) differ for specific brands. The following chart shows the top priority elements for the companies in the Hospitality & Food Services category:


The products offered by this company are "desirable, unique and perform their intended purpose."

  • 50 percent for Pizza Hut, Starbucks


The company "keeps its promises about the delivery of services. The employees are friendly, and the services provided by the employees are consistently performed."

  • 50 percent for KFC, McDonald's


The products "provide value and are worth the price. This company's prices fairly reflect the benefits provided by the products."

  • 25 percent for McDonald's

"A good customer experience is a critical driver of financial success, so it should be measured and managed the right way ... Whether executives know it or not, their customers have evolved to a point where they're in charge. They can buy anything, anywhere, anytime. Technology has made them smarter than ever before. Social media has given them a voice and a megaphone to broadcast their opinions. And, with more choices of brands and ways to engage with them (web, mobile, contact center, store/location, social media, email, etc.) at their disposal, it's easier than ever to switch whenever they deem necessary," the report said.

Read more about trends and statistics.

Topics: Customer Service / Experience , Marketing / Branding / Promotion , Trends / Statistics

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