(Video) Digital in QSR and Fast Casual Restaurants

Richard Dirstein and Marcos Terenzio discuss the consumer experience within QSR and fast casual environments and how digital can play a role.


Richard: I’m Richard Dirstein.

Marcos: I’m Marcos Terenzio.

Richard: Marcos, QSR and fast casual – A lot of our clients are situated within those two offerings, and these experiences are very different. QSR is measured in speed. You get in, get out quickly. The customer need state is quite different than fast casual, where it is more aspirational, where it’s a lot slower in terms of the whole customer journey, the customer path. Let’s talk about digital and how that can be nuanced for each of these opportunities.

Marcos: Absolutely, I think you probably noted the two biggest differentiating factors between the two experiences. QSR is exactly what you noted. It’s all about a customer quickly being able to decide what they’re going to have, knowing how much it costs, quickly identifying size and portion versus dollar amount that they’re willing to spend. So digital menu boards. I mean, it’s all about digital menu boards for fast casual. How can you create that quick appetite appeal and desire, but at the same time quickly communicate your full breadth of menu and your pricing structure against that.

Then, as you noted, fast casual dining, it’s all about creating that escape or that experience, where you might have a customer with a longer dwell time, more captive, the ability to communicate more messaging. They may have the desire to understand a little bit more details on recipe or ingredients, or the actual food items themselves. It might not be so much about an impulsive decision as much as more appetite appeal, more ways to complement their menu item. Frankly, a lot more of an opportunity for the brand to really reinforce themselves, and remind the customer where they are and why they’re there. So as that meal experience is progressing, they get that constant brand reinforcement hit.

So two very different approaches that can rely on the same technology, maybe the same delivery mechanism for the two. But the content and the strategy behind them are quite different for sure.

Richard: That’s great. I think, too, it’s important to note that the digital gives you that flexibility to be able to implement these overnight centrally, rather than regionally. The great thing about that is, from a central control point, a central activation point, and be able to yet standardize a larger portion of this from restaurant to restaurant, from location to location. But also customize a nuance for each of the communities that they’re in. So again, build that sense of community, leverage the digital technology.

Understand your customers’ need states at each of these two different offerings between fast casual and QSR, and really leverage that digital experience to create a deeper experience for your customers.

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