You’ve seen how well McDonald’s and Taco Bell are performing in the morning and noticed that breakfast is the only segment of the QSR industry that is seeing growth. How can you make the most of breakfast and stand out from competitors seeking to target the same customers? The finishing touches and little details that you offer morning customers can truly make a difference. From offering customization to ensuring that your customer leaves with the right order, here’s how finishing touches can make you stand out from the crowd.
1. The Appeal and Versatility of the Menu Itself
Making sure that your menu appeals to your target demographic in a variety of ways — from offering healthy, easy to understand AM cuisine to targeting some recent food trends — will help you succeed in the morning rush, but offering some ways to customize your menu options may be just as important. Customization isn’t particularly new, but it is being embraced and rewarded by one of the most coveted demographics: Millennials.
A recent piece in the Atlantic examined the “secret menu” phenomenon at Starbucks and why ordering off-menu, customized treats is a badge of honor for some customers. Offering customization not only allows the customer to get exactly what they want (or to avoid unwanted ingredients), it personalizes the experience, makes the customer feel special and can even help cement loyalty.
2. The Speed in Which an Order Is Delivered
From the time they pull into the drive-thru lane or walk in the door, how long does it take for a customer to place an order and receive their food? Putting the “fast” into fast food matters more in the morning than any other time of day. Most guests are on their way to another, time sensitive location — work, school or even a social gathering. Make them late, and you may not see them again. From the employee who takes the order to the team who preps it for delivery, every part of the process needs to work seamlessly if your customer is going to get out the door and on their way in a timely manner.
3. The Accuracy of an Order
Breakfast customers are giving up a precious few moments of their busy mornings to visit your establishment. The time during the morning commute may be the most stressful portion of the day for your prospective customers, and when they choose to spend that time with you, the experience needs to be perfect. According to Business Insider, breakfast needs to be the most convenient meal of the day for the fast food customer. Some chains actually make the decision to serve breakfast based purely on location. With so much riding on convenience, sending out inaccurate orders (which most customers will discover when they are already too far away to turn back) could turn off customers entirely.
McDonald’s has opted to focus on accuracy rather than speed, according to Time magazine. About 70% of the chains morning customers do business through the drive-thru. A few seconds faster won’t make a difference to these drive-thru customers, but a customer with an inaccurate order has to either keep the wrong food or actually stop the car and go into the building to get the correct food. Neither option is particularly appealing or likely to build customer loyalty, so McDonald’s chose to focus on accuracy to avoid the “wrong food” dilemma entirely.
4. The Wrapping
A recent survey by Asia Pulp & Paper revealed that 62% of fast food customers want a wrapper that is not only sustainable, but that contains clear, easy to read details about the food it holds. Customers show a clear preference for transparency, but during the morning drive, the wrapping quality and technique matter as well. Well wrapped handhelds that are able to contain sauces and ingredients make it easy for QSR breakfast customers to consume food on the go and make your location a better option for the morning commute.
5. Food Quality
Thanks to the cereal and packaged food industry, breakfast is seen by both Baby Boomers and Millennials as the most important meal of the day. Consumers weigh breakfast more heavily than other meals and are more likely to seek out healthy, quality ingredients. A push for healthy protein and grains to start the day is a hallmark of many popular nutrition and diet theories, and a QSR breakfast offering a hot, healthy meal that is easy to consume on the go can easily capitalize on our natural affinity for quality food in the morning.
You're not the only one who has noticed the increase in popularity of breakfast for the QSR industry; paying attention to the finishing touches and details that matter can help you stand out from the crowd.