What do Starbucks, Wendy’s, Panera Bread, Corner Bakery, and Taco Bell have in common?
They are all quick service restaurants competing for new business and trying to keep it. We live in a society based on convenience and instant results. Today’s consumers are too busy to cook at home but still are looking for healthy, cost effective meals.
With so many restaurants out there, how can restaurants attract new consumers and still keep their loyal ones coming back for more? A few ideas come to mind: technology, introduce new menu items and loyalty programs.
A consumer research firm recently surveyed a representative sample of 1,500 consumers ages 13 and older. They were asked how likely they were to try new menu items at 25 limited-service restaurant chains.
“There were significant differences between the age groups, but one observation is that newer restaurants such as Starbucks, Panera Bread, Chipotle and Jamba Juice ranked higher for Millennials, while the more established quick service restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s ranked higher for the older generations,” Randy Parker, E-Poll senior director of marketing and communications, wrote in an email. Reported the Nation’s Restaurant News.
Here are some ways restaurants are hitting their target audience.
Adding new menu items and remodeling:
Taco Bell recently announced the addition of alcohol to the menu in a new Chicago location. The new location will have a new layout. This is the latest sign Taco Bell is working to shed its fast-food image and appeal to millennials, who marketers say prefer places and products that seem less cookie-cutter and more “authentic,” via USA Today.
Wendy’s, is working to establish a new look, moving away from the traditional fast-food look to remodeling restaurants that feature more inviting and mixed seating options.
Technology and Loyalty Programs:
Restaurants are finally joining the technology party by incorporating tablets, apps, computerized kitchen equipment and data analysis capabilities to accommodate consumer needs and streamline the processes. Panera Bread is doing both well. Panera Bread is pushing ordering via mobile devices through their loyalty program, MyPanera. One reward recently was $5 off a mobile or online order. Once the consumer places the online order, it will be ready for pick up in a brown bag on the shelf.
What makes you a loyal customer at your favorite quick service restaurant? Chime in and let us know what’s your favorite and why!
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