3 Restaurant Brands that Demonstrated Customer Experience ROI

3 Restaurant Brands that Demonstrated Customer Experience ROI


3 Restaurant Brands that Demonstrated Customer Experience ROI

The restaurant industry is having to work even harder to meet the evolving needs of today’s consumers, who are reporting heightened financial concerns due to the volatile economy. These concerns are resulting in changed behaviors, with many consumers planning to scale back on their discretionary spending—including how often they eat out in restaurants.

These cutbacks mean it’s never been more important for brands to truly understand what brings in customers. Because of this increased pressure, more restaurants are investing in customer experience (CX) management and launching official CX programs to capture and analyze customer feedback to drive action and create meaningful change.

But these efforts can’t start and stop with the launch of a program. To be successful, that program has to demonstrate financial impact, however, 50% of CX leaders aren’t confident in their ability to do so. On top of that existing pressure, timing is of the essence with more than half of leaders expected to connect CX investments to financial benefits in less than a year.


Proving ROI of customer experience is more than an exercise in accounting—it’s about aligning CX targets with growth strategies + tactical plans of action. To demonstrate the ROI of your customer experience program and drive enterprise adoption, you need a strategy that connects CX insights with tangible business outcomes.


3 business outcomes to prove customer experience ROI

In your quest to prove ROI, make sure you take an outcomes-driven approach to experience management. Here are 3 business outcomes + brand success stories to use as a guide in creating an ROI strategy for your CX program:

#1: Generate new revenue by attracting customers, opening new channels, + expanding product offerings

History tells us it’s simply not enough to maintain; success (and survival) rely on being future-focused. Brands must steadily seek ways to attract more customers, open more channels, and offer better products. It’s about uncovering new ways of doing business that open new streams of revenue. Customer feedback makes it possible to cut down on guesswork as you explore development—providing necessary perspective on what works, what doesn’t, and what you must do to move your brand forward.

Brand success story: Wendy’s drums up new business by adding breakfast items

After more than a year of piloting their new breakfast menu at select locations, Wendy’s was gearing up for a nationwide rollout. To help manage the operational complexity of adding a new daypart, the QSR brand turned to is CX program for insight. The team took action by:

  • Using financial analysis to link strong breakfast performance with higher comp sales
  • Identifying frequently ordered, low-performing breakfast items through product-level data
  • Focusing on improving bottom-performing locations, leading to higher breakfast satisfaction

The product-level analyses and text analytics from their CX partner identified improvement opportunities for new menu items—yielding an 8% increase in total sales.

#2: Grow existing revenue through increased transactions and lifetime customer value

Consumers and employees want to stick with what works, putting their time, energy, and dollars toward brands they love. It’s up to you to challenge that status quo of loyalty and create fierce advocates for your brand—finding ways to broaden and deepen every interaction. By listening and appealing to the hearts of your customers, you can move your organization toward a lifetime of reliable loyalty (not to mention a rising bottom line).

Brand success story: Krispy Kreme improves loyalty program and increases membership

Almost a decade after entering the Japanese market, the hype around Krispy Kreme was starting to dwindle. To combat this and drive more repeat business, the beloved doughnut franchise shifted focus from opening new stores to improving CX at existing locations.

Location-level feedback data showed customer satisfaction + average spend were higher with service standard execution. Additionally, they found employees were more likely to execute service standards when they asked customers about loyalty membership.

The brand took action by prioritizing Asked if a Loyalty Member among service standards and creating interactive training modules specific to driving rewards app membership.

The initiative was a success with a 4X increase in loyalty app memberships and an uptick in consecutive YOY sales.

Reduce churn + detractors by lessening at-risk revenue, recovering lapsed customers, + curbing employee turnover

There’s a certain amount of loss every business must stomach. It’s what you do with those setbacks that determines whether you’ll move forward. In this case, ignorance isn’t an excuse; instead it denies you a successful future. But with the right tools in place, brands have the chance to save at-risk revenue, recover lost customers, and curb employee churn. To drive CX ROI, open every door (and window) for feedback, and be willing to make changes based on that feedback.

Drive operational efficiencies to better serve customers, reduce operating costs, + increase employee satisfaction

It’s up to you to make your business run better, faster, more efficiently. When your CX data directs you to the right levers to pull and the right changes to make, you can redefine what it means to serve your customers. Not only does that mean more positive interactions with consumers, it means more satisfied employees who can recognize shifts toward making their jobs easier—and all of it can lead to reduced costs to operate. You’ll be leaner, stronger, better equipped for the future.

Brand success story: Church’s Chicken improves delivery operations + drives business outcomes

Church’s Chicken’s location-based feedback confirmed Accuracy of Order was the top driver of the delivery experience with the largest room for improvement. This aligned with SMG’s third-party delivery research, which also showed customers are more likely to blame the brand (vs. the delivery provider) for problems with order accuracy.

The QSR brand wasted no time in taking action on improving order accuracy and came up with a simple but significant two-step plan:

1. Create a Perfect Delivery Sticker to be used on all delivery orders, which included a checklist of commonly missed items, required sign-off by a team member, + linked to Church’s CX survey

2. Add a question to their customer experience survey confirming the sticker was included + items were checked off

The solution provided locations with a tangible action plan and created a sense of accountability. Though much of the third-party delivery experience is out of the restaurant’s control, the delivery sticker was a way for front-line teams to have a hand in driving and communicating order accuracy improvements.

The Perfect Delivery Sticker made an immediate impact for Church’s Chicken. After implementation, the brand saw a 5%-pt increase in Overall Satisfaction and a 5%-pt increase in Order Accuracy. What’s more, they drove a 4% decrease in inaccurate orders—despite an increase in order count—which had significant financial impact by decreasing the number of refunded orders.

Leading brands transform CX insights into revenue-generating initiatives

Because successful CX initiatives focus on specific business challenges, ROI can (and should) look different for every organization—but the one commonality should be a direct tie from actions to results. Leading brands put ROI into practice by transforming CX insights into revenue-generating initiatives.

When you’re able to demonstrate the causational relationships between CX initiatives and critical business outcomes across channels, proving ROI isn’t a challenge—it’s an opportunity to align cross-functional strategies and build a customer-centric culture.

To earn the long-term investment needed to increase customer satisfaction and customer loyalty, you need more than just a one-off effort that helps solve acute issues. To really make a difference in the long-term, you need a comprehensive CX program that delivers actionable insights and impacts the bottom line. But where should you start?

Forrester, a leading global market research company, has done some of the work for you. In their 2021 CFM Wave, they provided a detailed analyses of CFM platform vendors—rating each on 33 criteria covering current offering, strategy, and market presence. Learn more about each vendor—and why SMG was named a Leader—by accessing a complimentary copy here: The Forrester Wave™: Customer Feedback Management Platforms, Q2 2021.