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The Value of Personalization in the Quick Service Industry

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In 2021, quick service restaurants are looking for anything they can do to stand out from the competition. From better mobile experiences to self-service kiosks in the dining room, QSR tech is becoming increasingly important. 

But, what some restaurants are beginning to realize is that the best way to impress their customers is by creating positive experiences specifically for them.

Personalization is becoming increasingly popular among consumers — with 80% looking for personalized retail experiences, according to an Epsilon survey. Fortunately, quick service restaurants are uniquely positioned to embrace this innovation. Diners already count on them to be quick, and fast food chains can take additional steps to streamline operations and drive customer satisfaction. 

Personalization also works well for QSRs because of the industry's short buying cycle. Unlike with other retail purchases, QSR customers don’t spend hours considering whether or not to purchase a product. In fact, most probably  already have an idea of what they want. QSRs simply have to stay top-of-mind and deliver a positive experience to stand out from the competitors down the block.

Let’s look at some ways to incorporate personalization into your QSR tech strategy. 

Omnichannel Marketing

One of the biggest ways that QSRs are creating personalized experiences for their customers is by expanding their marketing presence. For example, sending a text or a push notification around mealtime can be a great way to remind someone of your restaurant. Emails are also an effective means of promoting  weekly deals, but they might not be as effective for in-the-moment decision making.

App Insights

If your quick service restaurant has its own branded app, then you have a built-in data collector. Diners’ app usage delivers a treasure trove of individual and collective consumer behavior.  For instance, you can glean insights about your most popular menu items or ordering times and then use these data points to tailor your products to your target customer base. 

Restaurants can also take these insights one step further by customizing suggestions and menu offerings within the app based on each user’s past purchases. If a regular at a coffee chain, for example, consistently places mobile orders and never orders dairy milk, this is valuable information. The restaurant could leverage this data to suggest other non-dairy options and, when a new non-dairy milk is released, target this customer with ads, promotions, and information about the new product.

Customized Loyalty Programs

It’s no secret that loyalty programs are incredibly important for quick service restaurants. In many cases, earning loyalty points is one of the main reasons someone chooses one restaurant over another. 

Now, it’s certainly a good idea to let customers choose whatever reward they want — like a free food item or upgrade — depending on the amount of points they’ve earned. However, you can take this one step farther and suggest a particular free item based on what you know about that person and their orders. This tactic lets them feel seen and valued by your restaurant.

Geo-Fencing

Geo-fencing has become one of the most impactful technologies for QSR personalization. With geo-fencing and location-based marketing, your QSR can receive a notification when customers who have your app are within a certain radius. Then, the app can send a push notification suggesting that the customer place an order so it will be ready for pickup. You can take this a step further and suggest one of their past orders, making the ordering process even smoother. 

The overall goal of personalization in QSR tech is to make it easier for customers to order from your restaurant. The fewer decisions they have to make, the more likely they are to choose your restaurant.

By creating a personalized experience, you also stand out from your competition and better serve your customers with suggestions and updates that matter to them. 

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Chad Mattix

Written by: Chad Mattix

A global IT executive experienced in establishing strategic partnerships for large U.S.-based organizations, Chad Mattix specializes in managed services, contract pricing and negotiation, and the startup and growth of technology services companies. Chad has spent the last 15 years helping large U.S. retailers and U.S.-based IT service providers expand their capabilities across the globe to follow their clients’ expansions. He has developed and completed full entity formations in Brazil and China and has worked with sales pursuit teams in messaging and client-facing presentations. He has also established global alliance and partnership models for multiple global IT organizations. Chad travels around the world to develop and maintain long-term relationships with employees, clients, vendors and partners, which are critical for success.

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