QSR guests share what’s not working for them when eating out of home
  • Restaurant consumers are noticing price increases, but it’s the experience that’s bothering them the most. Longer wait times and order inaccuracies also noted. 
  • RMS suggests considering the value equation — improving the overall experience can offset price sensitivities. 

Yelp recently released data indicating that customers are starting to notice price increases. As we develop pricing strategies for over 100,000 restaurant locations around the world, we’re noticing, too. Revenue Management Solutions’ recent analysis of all the pain points affecting customers‘ dining behavior today reflects this. 

Among the more than 800 US consumers in our survey, the majority were “not dissatisfied” with their dining experience. For those who were unhappy, price was not the primary concern. 

  • Of QSR-only customers, only 36% believe the restaurant experience has improved in 2021 compared to 2020. (Table service customers saw a 41% improvement.) 
  • While about 60% of diners were “not dissatisfied” with their QSR experience, when they were unhappy, longer wait times to blame, not higher prices.

Diners tell operators how they really feel — and what you can do about it

Based on RMS survey responses, here’s what QSR brands should know about how their customers are feeling and behaving — and how you can overcome these pain points. For a deeper dive, get the complete report here.

QSR Insight: Increased wait times were the biggest issue.

Of dissatisfied QSR consumers, 40% said “increased wait times” were their greatest source of dissatisfaction. Besides long wait times and cold food, one respondent said, “Quick isn’t as quick as it used to be.” 

RMS Tip: To avoid wearing out consumer goodwill, there’s never been a better time to incorporate technology into the customer journey. If you don’t already have one, consider implementing a loyalty program. 

Also consider that dissatisfied diners noting longer wait times were most frequently drive-thru users. In drive-thrus, pre-menu boards can reduce friction and give customers something to do while they wait. They can also deliver an improved, personalized customer experience — one that might grow check. For more on the benefits of incorporating a loyalty program and optimizing your drive-thru experience, take a look at our Revenue Stream episode

QSR Insight: Order inaccuracy was the second reason that diners reported dissatisfaction, with 26% stating they received incorrect items in their order. 

RMS Tip: Order inaccuracy is a real problem, whether your customer gets an incomplete order or someone else’s food. Operators can address it with a simple solution: repetition. 

Training staff to repeat the customer’s order may take time, but it serves an important function. Besides improving order accuracy, it also enhances the guest experience. Considering that 17% of survey respondents were dissatisfied because of “poor customer service,” it’s worth the extra minute. 

QSR Insight: For QSRs, higher prices are a factor among survey respondents. 

RMS Tip: To keep customers coming back, operators and franchisors should consider a granular approach to taking price, monitoring customer reaction and behavior toward any menu changes.

RMS COO Mark Kuperman suggests operators focus on the item level. “We tell our clients to avoid across-the-board price increases, instead increasing in small increments over an extended period.” RMS has found this approach to be much more effective for meeting brand goals while also managing price sensitivity.

Finally, Kuperman urges QSR operators to consider the value equation. If 60% of survey respondents are worried about the accuracy of their delivery orders, for example, restaurants that improve accuracy are less likely to lose customers due to higher prices. “By focusing on the overall experience, such as atmosphere, service and order accuracy, restaurants can meet guests’ needs and help ease price sensitivity,” he adds.

If your restaurant or franchise is interested in learning about how to simplify your menu, options for pricing or insights on many other topics, reach out to learn more about how leveraging your data can generate a plan for profit.

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