What’s happening, and where’s the customer looking
Speaking to the previous question, ACSI reported a decline in overall customer satisfaction for limited-service chains. It fell 1.3 percent to 79, which trailed the full-service segment after holding a brief lead two years ago. Full service scored an 81, same as last year.
ACSI’s data found that quick-serves slid in nearly all aspects of the customer experience. The only element to improve was beverage variety (80), which, along with food variety (80), still rates on the lower end. Food accuracy declined 2 percent to 86. Likewise, staff showed less courteous (84 versus 85) and both beverage and food quality declined to 83 from 84 and 85, respectively.
Even service speed retreated 2 percent to 82—a level that was lower than full-service restaurants’ 83. While it seems pretty unlikely quick-serves are slower than sit-downs in general, it does speak to perception. With the tech available, expectations are simply even higher for counter-service brands to deliver on speed.
Quick service also lagged full service in the mobile space with scores of 81 for mobile app quality and 80 for reliability (compared to 84 and 86).
Again, this quick-service pool is more mature and a lot more crowded. So customers are naturally going to set a very high bar since they have so many choices.
ACSI did find quick-service websites, at 82, to be more effective than the industry’s apps. This is something we’ve explored before. According to NPD, a restaurant’s app or website represents 70 percent of digital orders and the remaining come through third-party apps or other types of apps or platforms. Customers are drawn to rewards and savings, and the branding attached to it.
The chart below shows how some key customer-experience benchmarks have trended, year-over-year, for quick-serves.