Restaurant industry is going through a transformation phase focusing customer convenience through interactive technology, fun and quirky stores, on the table service amongst others. These days’ restaurants especially the global brands like KFC, Pizza Hut and McDonald’s are reviving the in-store experience for their customers bringing more innovation into the business breaking the monotony and cookie cutter approach, with each store incorporating an element of localization and standardisation.
Breaking the monotony
McDonald’s which began its journey by introducing the concept of burgers in India has rolled out a new store experience as it has marked its 21st year of operations in the country. The restaurant chain has embarked on a brand revolution in the quick service restaurant industry with the launch of its first ‘Experience of the Future’ restaurant (EOTF) in Mumbai. Located at CR2 Mall at Nariman Point, the store features customizable menu options, new technology and a best-in-class customer experience. As part of its brand transformation, the company has evolved its menu, ordering processes and staff roles to bring greater control, convenience and personalization to its customer.
“With the EOTF restaurant, we are kicking off a bold and progressive plan to transform the customer experience. We want our customers to walk in and be wowed by the experience that’s modern and personalized, but still the McDonald’s they know and love. Over the past 20 years, we have constantly strived to bring more innovation and convenience to our customers. With the launch of EOTF, we want to provide customers with utmost convenience and brand new menu choices,” shares Amit Jatia, Vice-Chairman, Westlife Development Limited, adding that the brand has always listened to customers, and this ambitious plan is exactly what they’ve asked them to do.
Similarly, KFC has started building ‘KFC Hangouts’ strengthening its focus towards becoming the most desirable QSR brand in the country, KFC launched its first Hangout in Bangalore in mid-2016, followed by 9 more cities in the last 6 months. Currently the QSR chain is running 19 KFC Hangouts in 10 cities across the country, with plans to expand to other cities in the coming months. KFC Hangouts is first for any global QSR chain; the décor of the stores seamlessly integrates elements from popular city landmarks. “What makes these different from the ‘typical’ QSR format is that it breaks away from the “cookie cutter” approach to QSR design. While the overall design philosophy remains consistent across we do have the liberty to add local elements to build relevance in our markets – making each restaurant unique. The décor of these KFC restaurants seamlessly integrates elements from popular city landmarks. For example, the ‘KFC Hangout’ that you can see at RT Nagar in Bangalore, for instance, captures the city’s iconic TV Tower as a design element,” says Rahul Shinde, MD- KFC India.
What’s in store?
Using self-order kiosks, customers will be able to customize and build their own perfect burgers and skip the front counter entirely, with their food being served right at their table. Customers will also be able to enjoy interactive table-top games whilst they share a meal and even charge their smart phones using wireless charging devices in a contemporary and stylish ambience. The result is a more comfortable and personalized experience when they are inside a McDonald’s new store. From enhanced guest experience, advanced convenience, sustainability, wholesome food choices, the new McDonald’s India is driving the customer experience forward at full speed and bringing unrivaled innovation to the Quick Service Restaurant industry.
Likewise, KFC’s new format stores are intimate and informal, making them the perfect hangout zone for every mood and occasion. KFC Hangouts have a rustic feel, with an interesting mix of wooden and metal furniture, brick walls and earthy lamps, and offer an environment that subconsciously makes consumers let go of any inhibitions thus allowing them to kick back, relax and enjoy a finger lickin’ good meal.
Hence, we can say that with customer gaining ground, brands are now focusing more on elaborating customer experience and introducing local flavours into the restaurant menu and décor.