Monday, May 14, 2018

Fast Food and the Customer Experience



McDonald's recently created a marketing campaign promoting its new customer service including mobile ordering, customer touch screens and table service. Panera Bread has been using customer touch screens for awhile now. Wendy's has upped its game with very friendly and efficient staff who always greet customers and help them however they can. My local Boston Market is very well run with friendly table service and very clean bathrooms. I recently went to a Boston Market in Ft. Lauderdale that did not have table service, had a sparse number of tables and a very dirty bathroom. Boston Market clearly does not have uniform quality control or at least has a huge variance in quality of its restaurant managers. The Ft. Lauderdale Boston Market looked so neglected that I was sure it would soon go out of business.

The worst example yet of a poorly run fast food restaurant was one I recently had at a local Burger King restaurant. I must admit that I am not a big fast food restaurant user and I had not been to a Burger King in several years before I had the experience I am about to describe. The bathrooms were filthy, the tables were dirty, the staff members looked disheleved with poor personal hygiene. One employee wiped his nose with his hand while standing on the other side of the counter from me. And the person who took my order got the order wrong. When I pointed this out, he told me that the machine that made the drink I wanted was not operable so he substituted another drink of lesser value, a drink I did not want. He did not offer to get me something else or reimburse me for the difference in price. Based on this experience, I am pretty certain that I will not step foot in a Burger King again for a very long time if ever.

The point of this post is to point out how important a carefully designed and consistently executed customer experience is to brand perceptions and repeat purchase probabilities. I will continue to eat at my local Boston Market, Panera Bread and Wendy's but am very unlikely to step foot in a Burger King again. 

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