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Future of CX in QSR Industry: Insights from Industry Pioneers

On September 6, 2023 | 9 Minutes Read
Conversational EngagementCXFood & BeverageWhatsApp Business APIWhatsApp Commerce

The restaurant industry has undergone significant transformations, especially in the wake of the pandemic. In a dynamic roundtable focused on “Driving Profitable Growth for QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants) with Conversations and AI,” we had the privilege of engaging with industry experts Vishal, Srinidhi and Pankaj, who shared invaluable insights into how businesses are redefining their approaches to CX. Let’s delve into the wisdom shared by the spokespersons who are shaping the future of QSRs.

Meet the Voices of Innovation

Vishal Kapur: Co-founder of Chicago Pizza

Vishal Kapur, a visionary co-founder of Chicago Pizza, set the stage with his expertise on driving growth and innovation. With over 250 outlets across India and a global presence, Chicago Pizza’s journey is a testament to Vishal’s strategic prowess. His insights resonated with QSR leaders striving to navigate the complex realm of customer engagement.

Pankaj Arora: General Manager at Wow! Momos

Pankaj Arora, the General Manager at Wow! Momos, brought a fresh perspective to the roundtable. Wow! Momos’ remarkable repeat order rate of 35-40% speaks volumes about their ability to create enduring customer relationships. Pankaj’s contribution shed light on leveraging technology to transform transactions into meaningful interactions.

Srinidhi Rao: CEO of Birdy’s Bakery and Patisserie

Srinidhi Rao, the CEO of Birdy’s Bakery and Patisserie, added a touch of creativity and innovation to the discussion. Birdy’s Bakery’s success is attributed not just to its delectable treats but also to the immersive experiences they offer. Srinidhi’s insights showcased the evolving concept of customer experience, where every touchpoint counts.

 

What is working in QSR industry?

Adapting to Changing Needs: A Key to Success

Undoubtedly, the pandemic posed unforeseen challenges for the restaurant sector. However, one striking revelation emerged – businesses that successfully met varying customer needs and put the CX at the forefront emerged as winners. Srinathi emphasized this, noting that the shift extended beyond providing mere meals; customers now seek an immersive experience that extends beyond the confines of the restaurant itself.

Crafting Memorable Experiences: Beyond Service

The concept of the customer experience has indeed evolved. Srinidhi’s bakery, Birdy’s, resonates with this transformation. By embracing the fusion of the physical and digital, they’ve reimagined how customers interact with their brand. 

Gone are the days of static images in a manual; today, customers enjoy an interactive experience through digital folders and links to personalized cake designs. Moreover, as Srinidhi shared, the era of top-down recommendations is waning. Now, customers express their preferences, leading to tailor-made suggestions and a deeper sense of involvement.

Data-Driven Personalization: The Core of the Strategy

Pankaj from WoW! Momo articulated how data is pivotal in this new landscape. Leveraging a robust CRM system, they segment customers into clusters to craft personalized interactions. It’s not just about sending offers; it’s about sending the right offer to the right customer, at the right time. This approach, driven by real-time insights, transforms routine transactions into engaging experiences.

Digital Touchpoints: Bridging Gaps and Strengthening Bonds

The digital age isn’t just about data analytics; it’s about using technology to enhance the journey. Digital invoices have become more than just transactional documents; they’re gateways to gamification and instant offers. But it’s not just about offers – it’s about fostering a connection. Pankaj’s mention of rapid response mechanisms exemplifies how technology isn’t just about efficiency; it’s about showing customers that they matter.

Regional Nuances: A Lesson in Customer Preferences

An intriguing takeaway surfaced during the discussion: the regional impact on customer preferences. Pankaj’s revelation about Chennai’s unexpected craving for momos shatters the myth that assumptions can dictate preferences. This anecdote underscores the need to be agile and adaptable, recognizing that each region carries its own culinary desires.

 

Direct Ordering: Enhancing CX

In the realm of quick-service restaurants, creating a seamless and satisfying CX has become a focal point for success. In this QSR round table discussion, the speakers shed light on their strategies for nailing both product offerings and customer experiences. Srinidhi and Pankaj, offered insights into their unique approaches to cater to diverse customer preferences and elevate their brands.

Srinidhi, the owner of Birdy’s, one of the oldest bakery brands in Mumbai, shared intriguing observations. Birdy’s, known for its association with celebrations and special occasions, focuses intensely on customer satisfaction. Srinidhi delved into the transformation that has taken place, where customers now seek not just a product but an entire experience. Birdy’s has adapted to this shift by emphasizing experiential aspects both within and beyond their outlets.

“We’ve learned that customers are no longer content with a simple transaction,” Srinidhi noted. He highlighted how the concept of service has evolved. 

In the past, good service merely entailed efficient processes, but today, it encompasses creating a memorable experience for the customer. This transformation is especially apparent in the celebration aspect of their business. Customers come not just for a cake but for an experience that extends from the moment they walk into the store until after they’ve enjoyed the product.

Srinidhi provided an interesting example of how their personalized approach has transformed the customer journey. In the pre-pandemic era, Birdy’s would present customers with a manual containing laminated photographs of various cake designs. However, the shift to digital technology prompted them to create digital folders and PDFs with images. 

Staff members could now show customers these digital catalogs, enhancing the interaction and decision-making process. Srinidhi’s emphasis on personalized engagement and advisory services showcased their commitment to going beyond traditional service.

On the other hand, Pankaj, the Head of Marketing at WoW! Momo, delved into the intricacies of creating a comprehensive customer experience in the food industry. WoW! Momo, with its exceptional repeat order rate of 35-40%, has cracked the code to building long-term customer relationships. Pankaj’s insights revolved around leveraging technology and data to enhance the customer journey.

Pankaj emphasized the importance of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in WoW! Momo’s operations. By meticulously collecting and analyzing customer data, WoW! Momo creates clusters of customers based on various factors such as repeat visits, order frequency, and more. 

This segmentation allows Wow to tailor its communication and marketing efforts. Pankaj provided a vivid example of how they leverage WhatsApp-based ordering to streamline customer interaction. This method not only simplifies the ordering process but also enables continuous engagement.

Through the CRM system, WoW! Momo can directly target different customer segments through personalized messages on various platforms like social media. Pankaj also highlighted their innovative use of digital invoices, which not only provide transaction details but also serve as a medium for engagement. Customers receive these invoices via WhatsApp, enabling them to engage in gamification and provide instant feedback.

Both Pankaj and Srinidhi underscored the evolution of customer expectations and how technology is transforming the customer journey in the QSR industry. Birdy’s and WoW! Momo exemplify the successful adaptation to these changes by providing not just products but experiences that resonate with their customers..

 

Expanding to Tier 2 and Tier 3 Cities: A Blend of Physical and Online Experience

Vishal, the Founder of Chicago Pizza, shared intriguing insights into their expansion strategy that encompasses both physical and online experiences. With around 250 outlets across India and venturing into international markets, Chicago Pizza’s growth has been impressive. However, it’s their unique approach to capturing markets in tier 2 and tier 3 cities that sets them apart.

Vishal noted that the cost dynamics in these smaller cities are significantly different from metropolitan areas. The rental expenses drop substantially, allowing for a better return on investment. Chicago Pizza capitalizes on the idea that dining at their outlets offers more than just a meal – it provides an outing experience for people in these towns, where entertainment options might be limited. This shift in perspective enables them to create a more valuable experience for customers.

A key aspect of their strategy is customizing each outlet’s design to match the location’s ambiance and preferences. While maintaining a consistent brand feel, Chicago Pizza ensures that each outlet feels unique and tailored to the local market. Vishal believes that this approach prevents monotony and keeps customers engaged, as they look forward to experiencing something fresh each time they visit a different location.

The operational efficiency of Chicago Pizza plays a significant role in their success. With a streamlined kitchen setup utilizing just 150 square feet, they optimize space and reduce labor costs. Their quality control is centralized through a dedicated central kitchen, ensuring that all outlets adhere to the same standards. This approach empowers Chicago Pizza to maintain consistency across their wide network of outlets.

Vishal’s emphasis on niche marketing over splurging on advertising highlights their ROI-focused mindset. Rather than pouring funds into broad campaigns, they carefully evaluate the potential return on investment for each marketing initiative. This strategic allocation of resources ensures that their marketing efforts yield maximum results within budget constraints.

In addition to their physical presence, Chicago Pizza has embraced the digital landscape to enhance the customer experience. The integration of Gupshup’s WhatsApp ordering platform allows them to efficiently manage orders and connect with customers. 

The platform seamlessly coordinates with third-party delivery services like Dunzo, Rapido, Shadowfax, and more, enabling swift and convenient order fulfillment. All of these functions are managed through a centralized dashboard, eliminating the need for multiple apps and reducing operational complexity.

The roundtable’s insights illuminate a QSR landscape that transcends traditional paradigms. With a focus on immersive experiences, QSRs blend technology and culinary expertise to create personalized customer journeys. 

Data-driven personalization, amplified by real-time insights, reshapes transactions into captivating interactions. Digital touchpoints, from gamified invoices to rapid responses, establish authentic connections, while adapting to regional nuances enriches the culinary tapestry. By embracing technology, data, and customer desires, QSRs pave the way for a future defined by personalized engagement and culinary innovation, reshaping dining encounters into enduring memories that cultivate steadfast patronage.

 

Watch the full webinar

Priya Ranjan Mohanty
Product Marketing Manager

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