5 key takeaways from 2021 for QSR and casual dining operators

If 2020 was the year that cocooned the hospitality industry, 2021 was the year when operators re-emerged to flap their wings in a new post-lockdown world. Some failed to adapt while others thrived, taking flight and reacting quickly to the numerous obstacles in their way.
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We look at what contributed to these brands success by giving you 5 key learnings from our recent survey, in partnership with KAM Media, where we questioned 500 customers and 100 frontline hospitality staff on everything from customer expectation to the use of tech solutions and how to navigate hospitality staff shortages.

1. Delivering on the customer experience is fundamental

Staff friendliness, speed of service and staff knowledge and expertise are not only three of the most important factors that influence a customer’s choice of venue, but they all have increased in importance over the last 12-18 months. Customers place an even greater level of expectation on where and when they spend their money eating out and are more likely to value interactions that are adding value to their experience.

2. Customers are more knowledgeable and expect information at their fingertips

Customers expect staff to be a combination of Google, TripAdvisor and Amazon. Digital menus, which are searchable, can provide the perfect solution for operators who now have to comply with Natasha’s Law as well as satisfy the demand for sourcing and other nutritional benefits.

3. Technological integration is no longer a nice-to-have

What, for some, 18 months ago would have been seen as extravagance is now a core pillar for any hospitality business’ strategy. Furthermore, it’s become an expectation for customers. 2-in-3 customers want digital solutions for menus and order & pay. 1-in-4 also see the benefits technology can provide in speeding up service and improving the overall experience. Failing to deliver on the customer experience can quickly lead to a failure of the business, with the majority of customers giving venues just 2 chances to get it right before never coming back.

4. Digital solutions can improve staff AND customer happiness

Both customers and staff recognise the benefits that digital can provide to the overall customer experience at the key stages of the purchase and payment journey, with as many as 2-in-3 of them welcoming solutions such as digital menus and order & payment. Order & pay at table, for example, can ease a common ‘stress-point’ for customers whilst also freeing-up time for staff to focus on delivering on the true ‘added-value’ elements of the customer experience.

5. Staff shortages can be an opportunity for change

Staff shortages within hospitality are damaging the overall experience for customers. With pressure being felt on all aspects of ordering and payment, from both customers and staff. The opportunity is to work smarter not harder. Integrating high-quality people with targeted technology can usher in a new era for customer experience. Allowing technology to do the heavy lifting whilst elevating staff to connect emotionally with customers and be the catalyst for delivering a memorable experience.

White paper download and webinar

To view the full findings from this independent research, you can download the resulting white paper, Merging People + Tech: A New Era of Customer Experience in QSR, available here.
Watch Katy Moses, MD of KAM Media discussing the survey findings with leading QSR operators and our Sales & Marketing Manager, Paul Berryman below: 
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