By Kedar Teny, Director, McDonald’s
Headquartered in the U.S., McDonald’s is the world’s leading global foodservice retailer with over 36,000 locations in over 100 countries, which serves the world some of its favorite foods - World Famous Fries, Big Mac, Quarter Pounder, Chicken Nuggets and Egg McMuffin.
The landscape of the Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) over a period of time has changed drastically. With the entry of new players in the market it has become indispensable for brands to sustain their value, their products and most importantly, retain their customers. What is it that will make a brand stand apart? What is it that will help a brand be the longest running horse? What is it that will drive footfalls? The answer to these questions will boil down to only one word and one answer strategy. A lot of brands today come up with innumerable tactics to garner customer eye balls. Being in the digital age, brands too have upgraded their style of promotion and marketing strategy and have got into new age systems and techniques to keep themselves in the visible. In a world of overstimulation, QSR players must make an endeavor to enhance customer experience within and beyond their restaurants. Brands need to accelerate their efforts towards digitalization and build consumer connect by offering a contemporary dining experience.
Communicating with customers is the need of the hour and brands are doing it in an extremely beautiful way through digitalization. Today, there is a momentous shift in the way customers consume media with India as the second largest market for social networks. The key target audience for brands fall in the age group 15 to 35 which are hyper active on the digital and use it for their conversations. Due to this exponential shift, players in the QSR segment should integrate digital media in their communication strategy and adopt newer methods to connect with customers through diverse platforms. Here are a few ways QSR brands can sharpen their digital communication strategy to go the extra mile:
1. Customer Engagement
The biggest advantage for any brand today is being accessible and social media plays an excellent mediator between a brand and the customer. A grievance or a feedback is just a click away to being raised or addressed. Be it rising concerns or be it activities and campaigns, brand can very well connect with customers. This method also makes the customer feel special in various ways which encourages him or her to openly voice out opinions. When it comes to engagement, transparency is key and customer is the king.
2. Real Time Monitoring
Monitoring conversations in real-time are vital in order to minimize or curtail the effects that transpire due to a crisis situation. Customers today usually turn towards social media in order to share their feedback and therefore, a slight negative remark can potentially spread quickly and damage the brand’s reputation to a great extent. Being at the right place and the right time helps a brand to maintain its integrity. Through real time tracking, it is possible to be notified about such instances at the right time and respond to the customer in a timely manner, which helps in alleviating the situation.
3. Web & Mobile Ordering Convenience
According to EatStreet, an online ordering provider, digital ordering is growing 300 percent faster than dine-in traffic. With increasing disposable income, changing food habits and hectic daily routines, demand for home deliveries are increasing. Home deliveries have increased by an average of 30 percent of many players while online sales have seen robust increases across the board for QSR. Since customers are extremely digitally savvy, online ordering as well as mobile apps is increasingly gaining popularity in order to cater to that demographic segment. Therefore it is significant for brands to enable customers to place their orders with ease by being present on multiple platforms
4. Targeted advertising
Brands today are focusing on targeting their advertisements to the right target audience. Targeted advertisements help in connecting the brand to people who have an affinity or are seeking the product that is being advertised. The advertisements are therefore directed to a more relevant audience by studying their preferences, purchasing history, etc. For example, in order to promote the Vector 3 Razor, Gillette India made optimal use of Facebook targeting which turned out to be a successful among the audiences.
5. Create Unique Content
As the social media space today is cluttered, brands should focus on creating unique and quality content to stand out as content is king at the end of the day. Well-researched and interesting content goes a long way in ensuring that people come back to peruse your site or social media page. Combining different ideas and incorporating various angles in the stories a brand shares helps it to be in the good books of people. Ensuring that the content a brand comes out with and resonates with people is also important as it can be a very good learning ground.
6. Collaboration with Online Media
It is important for players in the QSR industry to increase visibility on portals such as Zomato, Burrp and so on as well as on food aggregators like Food Panda, Swiggy.. This helps customers to browse through their menu and pick their dining location with ease. It also becomes easier to review customer feedback & their experience through their comments. It is imperative that brands undertake strategic tie-ups that offer relevance value and excitement to customers.
7. Share Untold Stories
Sharing lesser known facts and trivia keeps readers interested and glued on. Brand, on a timely basis can touch upon lesser known facts and stories which strike the emotional chord among the audience. Professional growth & success stories from employees, showcasing their processes for preparing popular products, did you know facts and figures and sharing interactive content with users will help them get a lot of traffic and discussions on their social forum.
8. Being Accessible
Monitoring positive or negative feedback shared by the audience and responding to their queries & comments real time helps a brand maintain its loyal fan base. Replying to your audience in a prompt and timely fashion encourages more people to participate in conversations with the brand.
9. Focusing on Visual Content
Using quirky info graphics, images and videos helps enhance the visual appeal of your content and is easily sharable by readers. Brands can also involve their patrons into creating crowd sourced visual content which engages them & helps them connect more deeply with the brand.
There are a lot of other things that QSRs can come up with but what matters at the end is the strategy that brands come up with the way it executes them. Food quality being the principal element, overall dining experience, customer engagement and entertainment to the visitors also plays an important role. Brands that use digital networking to improve its services and build up on their social media will be the king in the future.