If you’ve been reading our restaurant customer experience series, you’ve no doubt been wondering why it is that restaurant behemoths like Chick-fil-A, Dunkin’ Donuts, and McDonalds lead the nation in customer loyalty.
In this article, we unpack the customer experience strategies used by restaurants with the most loyal customers.
Since the need for social distancing sparked a convenience revolution, catering to the modern customer has pushed the customer experience digital. Restaurant giants have invested in digital hardware, mobile apps, and customer relation software that serve customers conveniently and seamlessly.
These top 3-ers do everything they can to simplify their walk-in diner’s experience. In one form or another, Dunkin’ Donuts, Chick-fil-A, and McDonald’s have added digital hardware like:
These tools are meant to create an atmosphere of comfort; each enabling diners in one way or another to receive their food quickly, safely, and according to their specifications.
McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Chick-fil-A know their customers have a lot of options, so each has integrated their restaurant into engaging mobile apps. Key features include:
There are a number of ways to drive engagement with loyalty programming.
Chick-fil-A, for example, gamifies orders.
Gamification, paired with mobile ordering, is one of the many reasons why Chick-fil-A earned its title as the number one fast-food restaurant with the most loyal customers.
These restaurant giants know their customers are on-the-go and need convenient ways to order food wherever they are. More than 70% of millennials say their lifestyles are dependent on being able to get quick food on the go.
Each of these restaurants has rolled out its own mobile system for:
Technically this is an extension of their mobile apps, but the functionality has proven so effective for customer retention that it deserves its own category.
In-app orders are changing the way restaurants interact with customers, with options like:
Each of these functions empower customers with accessible ways to initiate, customize, and purchase orders at their convenience.
When you’re a multi-billion dollar business in a fast-paced industry, every step counts or costs.
These top-3ers want to be the first to anticipate and respond to all their customers’ needs. As a result, each business has integrated a customer relations management solution to oversee all customer data and communications.
Take Dunkin’ Donuts, for example, who partnered with Epsilon in 2013 and Salesforce in 2016. They needed a large, scalable solution to:
Now they use cloud technology to improve and blend customer experience between their physical stores and digital channels. Using SaaS for personalization has empowered them to evolve with their customers’ needs and defend their title as the #1 Brand for Customer Loyalty for 15 years in a row.
In an earlier article, Why Does the Restaurant Customer Experience Matter, we discussed how business owners can make their diners F.E.E.E.L. like they’re a top priority.
Here are some ways Chick-fil-A, Dunkin’ Donuts, and McDonalds apply
To stay in tune with their customer needs.
These companies create comfortable customer experiences because they know their diners on an individual level. Our loyalty leaders use data from sources like their mobile apps, social media, and online ads to analyze the factors that influence when they order, where they order, and what they order.
Based on these behavioral reports, our loyalty leaders create, advertise, and send offers that incentivize their diners to come back time after time.
McDonalds’ personalization platform uses decision-making algorithms to:
Chick-fil-A, Dunkin’ Donuts, and McDonalds create an atmosphere of comfort within their brands by delivering menus, deals, and content that anticipates their diners’ preferences.
A Harvard Business report reveals "fully connected customers are 52% more valuable, on average, than those who are just highly satisfied–” and these big brands know it.
Our loyalty leaders harness emotional connectivity throughout their websites, apps, and physical stores using a variety of techniques, with some of the most effective being:
Our loyalty leaders prioritize positivity with every customer interaction. They create an atmosphere that makes their diners feel like they made a good choice–for themselves, their community, and the world at large–by ordering from them.
McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Chick-fil-A are always creating new ways to give decision-making power back to their diners – whether by making their orders faster, smarter, safer, or personal. Tactics include:
By empowering customers to make orders on their own terms, our loyalty leaders are changing the standards for what restaurants can do for their customers by looking for opportunities to do less.
Our top-3ers deepen their customer experiences by offering meaningful experiences that can’t be served anywhere else.
Consider Dunkin’ Donuts, who, during nationwide COVID-realted closures, capitalized on the +50% of consumers who say they would buy meal kits from their favorite restaurants. They encouraged their diners to make a weekly ritual of togetherness by taking home a Dunkin’ Donuts DIY sundae kit.
On another note, consider McDonald’s, who collaborated on a custom menu with BTS, an internationally recognized K-POP group with a diehard fanbase. They gave in-app fans exclusive, limited-time access to the menu and band merch through their mobile app.
For these companies, enchantment is all about keeping excitement and joy at the heart of every meal.
More than 70% of restaurant customers will recommend a restaurant that responds quickly to them. So it’s no surprise these top 3 brands have made it a priority to open as many channels for communication as possible.
These loyalty leaders communicate with their customers through a variety of ways, like:
They account for everything their diners say and do–whether they complain, post memes, or comment on a Twitter thread–because every interaction is a chance to enhance the customer experience.
What these top 3 restaurants have in common is that they are always investing in ways to deepen customer loyalty with personalization. They work to bring news customers through their doors, whether that means going in-app for a new menu drop, getting sundae kit deliveries, or checking-in mobile orders at the drive thru.
But many of the strategies listed in this article require substantial financial investment. Smaller restaurant owners can innovate their customer loyalty strategy without this kind of capital investment.
Upside is the most profitable tool that works to give your business the same level of personalization as our top three loyalty leaders.
Upside simplifies customer acquisition by giving your customers what they want—great value at restaurants nearby—in a way that’s profitable for business.
Just like our top-3ers, we use previous customer order data to create personalized offers based on their favorite, regular, and trending menu selections.
Unlike our top 3ers, we use the data you already have–anonymized credit card transactions data–to analyze customer behavior and generate cash back promotions to drive new and repeat customers through your doors. That’s incremental profit with larger, more frequent purchases.
Plus, with Upside, you don’t need to:
And unlike other cashback apps and online advertisers, Upside doesn’t eat away at your profits. We don’t earn a cent until after you earn your profit and your customer receives their cash back reward.
Just like our loyalty leaders, we work to bring positivity to every transaction. We believe in your restaurant, and want to show your customers how their choice to dine with you makes local businesses stronger, vibrant, and sustainable.
We’re on a mission to: