Understanding the Customer Experience of Menu Innovation


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Brands today are continuously seeking new and innovative ways to remain top-of-mind for customers and beat out the competition. Quick service restaurants (QSRs) are no exception to this rule, with many rapidly recognizing that they need new and creative ways to accomplish this feat.

One way QSRs are staying fresh in consumer minds is through partnerships with other food brands to create new and inspiring menu items. Some recent co-branded partnerships that come to my mind are Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Tacos and Popeyes’ Zatarain’s Butterfly Shrimp, which created unique opportunities for these QSRs to take their product development to a whole new level by leveraging established consumer brands.

Measuring the Success & Viability of a New Menu Item
Creating a new menu item is no small feat. Making it a co-branded offering adds an additional level of complexity. There are a lot of steps involved in taking the product from idea to reality and making it a hit with customers. So how do QSRs know if a new menu item is a success?

The first thing that comes to mind would be to look at product sales. However, initial sales will make it difficult to truly measure an item’s long-term viability, since loyal customers usually give new menu additions at least one try. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good indicator of the excitement generated amongst consumers, but it isn’t the most effective way to measure. I would also recommend that you ask your customers for their feedback and monitor what they have to say. Going this route is the best way to get an honest look at the efforts you’re putting forth, whether it’s a new menu item, staff friendliness, location cleanliness or overall customer experience.

360° View of Customer Sentiment
When it comes to asking for feedback and understanding what your customers are saying, you must combine and monitor data from structured surveys, as well as from unsolicited sources, such as social and online review sites like OpenTell, Yelp! And TripAdvisor. Both feedback types are equally important when it comes to getting a complete, holistic view into customer sentiment with new menu items and your brand.

By using listening and monitoring technologies to bring these two disparate sources of feedback together, you can enhance your ability to hear what your customers have to say and leverage what they are telling you—for existing and future menu offerings and overall customer experience improvements.

For example, if some of your locations aren’t making a new menu item in accordance with corporate specifications, or it is always cold when it reaches the customer, having both types of feedback monitoring in place will allow you to understand where operational improvements can be made and provide the necessary coaching to ensure that changes are implemented in order to deliver the menu item the way the customer expects it.

Doing so will show customers that you are actively making changes based on their feedback. In turn, you will promote their repeat business, encourage them to continue to try new menu items, maintain their loyalty, and create the desire to advocate for your brand.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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