When Experience Really Matters

May 31, 2011 | by Janet Eden-Harris

Who has seen the latest reports on the fastest growing restaurant chains in North America? I was struck when I read the following article summarizing the latest Technomic report: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-0524-nra--20110523,0,7087919.story. If you don’t have time to reach the whole article, here’s a quick excerpt:
Despite the difficult environment, some restaurant chains have managed to post sizable gains, among them Starbucks, Subway, Panera Bread, Chipotle, Chick-fil-A and McDonald’s.

These and other chains have managed to stand out by creating innovative experiences for customers and responding quickly to changes in the market, said Darren Tristano, Technomic's executive vice president. They also continue to invest in their brands by advertising, training staff and remodeling or updating restaurants, he said.

The industry's fastest-growing chains cited in the report are Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches, Papa Murphy's, Red Mango and Baskin-Robbins.

Why was I struck? Because most of these fast-growing and successful restaurants are growing by making sure each customer that comes in the door gets a great experience, each time. A number of these restaurant leaders use our customer intelligence solutions, and I would contend that the individual customer experience contributes more to their success than factors like pricing and back-end operations.

Because, at the end of the day, there are only three levers that matter to growing same-location sales: getting more customers, getting them to spend more when they’re visiting and getting them to visit more often. That takes visibility into every location, and knowing what matters most to those customers to delight them.
Do you know what’s going on in every restaurant? Is each living up to your brand promise? Can you afford to invest in measuring restaurant performance and customer experience? Can you afford not to?

Topics: Customer Service / Experience , Marketing , Marketing / Branding / Promotion , Operations Management

Janet Eden-Harris / Janet Eden-Harris is the CMO and SVP of Strategy for Market Force Information. She joined Market Force from J.D. Power and Associates, where she was VP of its Web Intelligence unit.
www View Janet Eden-Harris's profile on LinkedIn

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