By Shalin Shah
Quick service restaurants thrive when they successfully understand and complement a customer’s routine – a daily cup of coffee complemented by a savory pastry, Friday night movie with a slice of pizza, Two-For-One Taco Tuesday, and more. Perceived value – both monetary and experiential – is the key driver of the quick serve restaurant (QSR) model from the customer point of view.
And, from the point of view of the QSR, building customer lifetime value hinges on keeping customers loyal by anticipating their needs and delivering on the products and service that they expect consistently and reliably. The key to building customer lifetime value lies in keeping one step ahead of the customer to proactively manage their experience and creating personalized offers based on their patterns and preferences in real-time.
To stay ahead of the customer, the ability to identify, track and target customers that are currently physically inside or close to the QSR establishment is incredibly valuable – and geo-targeting capabilities fueled by streaming analytics empower QSRs to proactively act on this information in real-time through live dashboards tailored to the needs of specific employees ranging from the restaurant manager to the C-level executive. Using Bluetooth technology, handsets can pinpoint customer location to within as little as 2 centimeters by receiving signals from beacons installed within restaurant venues.
How can QSRs leverage beacons and streaming analytics to enhance the customer experience?
Because convenience and speed of service rests at the core of the QSR value proposition, it’s important to proactively manage customer wait time and minimize inconvenience. Line hints provide real-time suggestions on the shortest and simplest path to service. For instance, a QSR leveraging beacons and streaming analytics can create an app to provide up-to-the-minute information on the drive-thru lane wait time compared to the in-venue wait time, thereby eliminating the guessing game on whether to park or stay in the car.
If a customer is lingering outside close to the venue – pumping gasoline, waiting for the bus, or settling on a bench to meet a friend, issuing an instant coupon can be a highly effective motivator to enter the store and make a purchase. For instance, a coffee provider can issue an instant coupon for “triple the rewards points” to a regular patron who is close enough to the venue to drop in and make an on-the-fly purchase.
While many QSR purchases are routine and predictable, there’s always an opportunity to upsell a regular customer. So, if your regular Friday night customer pops in for a bucket of fried chicken, why not issue a mobile offer for a dinner special that includes free drinks and two sides for the price of one? This strategy not only increases the total ring on the cash register at favorable margins but also introduces regular customers to product offerings that they had not yet considered.
When introducing new offerings, events, and other special opportunities – things like seasonal products, happy hour specials and new menu items – QSRs can leverage mobile offers to invite customers to partake precisely at the time when they’re most likely interested – when they’re within proximity of the cash register.
The key takeaway here is that geo-targeting fueled by streaming analytics captures customers when they’re most receptive and proximate – and receptiveness and proximity directly drive conversion and upsell in the QSR world. Geo-targeting is all about striking when the fryer is hot – and the rewards are golden.
About Shalin Shah
Shalin Shah has served as the Senior Marketing Manager at Vitria Technology, Inc. since 2010, handling all aspects of Product Marketing and Programs & Operations. Prior to joining Vitria, Shalin served as the Product Marketing Manager at Jameco Electronics, a leading electronic components distributor, from 2009 to 2010. In 2009, Shalin also served as a Technical Writer for a skunk works business unit within Nokia, Inc.’s mobile app division. Previously, Shalin held a variety of programs and operations positions in a nonprofit international charity organization in consultative status with the Economic & Social Council of the United Nations. Shalin holds a B.S. degree in Computer Engineering from the University of California, Irvine and an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University.