4 learnings any frontline workforce can learn from the restaurant industry

by Nicky Budd-Thanos, on February 25, 2020

According to a study in 2019, 45% of diners say they are going out to eat multiple times a week - and last year, restaurant industry sales were projected to total over $863 billion. How to keep up with these overwhelming numbers? Again, we turn to the research: in 2019, the restaurant industry was projected to employ nearly 16 million people.
While there are certainly challenges faced by the restaurant industry - incredibly high turnover rates and razor thin margins, to name a couple - there are also key learnings that any frontline workforce could benefit from implementing. Read on for four secrets in the sauce for a powerful, efficient frontline:
1. A laser focus on the customer experience
Chances are, you remember a bad customer experience far more acutely than the many positive or pleasant experiences you’ve had. In fact, 95% of survey respondents said that they told friends, family or both about a bad customer experience.
For example, McDonald’s not only emphasizes the importance of a warm welcome in their employee manual, it’s come up as an interview question for prospective employees. It may seem trivial, but beginning a customer experience with a smile and a greeting is the foundation for creating and cultivating brand loyalty with customers.
2. Constant learning from the voice of the customer
This one is distinctly and importantly different from #1. Sometimes, despite best efforts, customer experiences can go poorly. Rather than letting this be purely negative, this can turn into an opportunity to learn and grow from customers’ honest, valuable feedback. Many restaurant teams rely on surveys and increasingly, social media activity to better understand the customer perspective. This data can then be used to improve processes and identify potential blind spots that could become bigger issues in the long-term.
3. The need and respect for speed
There’s a reason they call it fast food: people are busy and they want a great meal, quickly. Knowing that they can get the food they want in a reliable time frame creates repeat customers. There is nothing more precious than free time and frustration can mount with customer experiences that are just taking too long. Wherever possible, find ways to create efficiencies and streamline processes - a digital workforce like Crew makes it easy for your team to work together, share best practices and become even more aligned around the same goals.
4. An ever-evolving product line
QSRs are genius at using seasonal changes or topical trends to influence their product line and keep things fresh; look no further than the Pumpkin Spice Latte or Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Taco. While this isn’t going to be exactly applicable across all business and frontline teams, finding ways to keep your customer offerings fresh and unique goes a long way to bringing customers back. Crew customer Primary Aim (Wendy's franchisee with 74 locations) saw an 8x increase in weekly sales after communicating a push for cookie sales across the frontline team.
This is also a great way to enforce regular training and knowledge sharing across your team: when new processes are introduced, it ensures that team members are up to date on how things are done and allows new opportunities for asking questions and streamlining how things get done.
What are your team’s best secrets? Let us know on Twitter!
Photo by Joanna Boj on Unsplash