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Study: Quick Service Restaurants Missing Big Opportunity in Customer Service

Empathica's QSR Benchmark Study Finds Customers Are Four Times More Likely to Recommend Quick Service Restaurants When Most Satisfied

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| Source: Empathica

TORONTO, July 25, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Empathica Inc., a leading global provider of Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions to the world's most respected multi-unit enterprises, announces today the results of its 2013 Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) Benchmark Study, which surveyed 10,000 US consumers on the 62 top QSR brands[1][2], measuring food, order accuracy, speed of service, menu, restaurant atmosphere and cleanliness, staff, and value. Results determined brand rankings in these categories as well as the drivers behind customer loyalty and satisfaction.

The study revealed that QSRs are competing against each other in terms of product, followed by customer service. While most brands are successful in food taste, portion and order accuracy, results showed noticeable gaps in customer service areas like staff attitude and restaurant atmosphere. Further, fewer brands are focusing on healthy menu options and staff recommendations. These gaps in service are opportunities for QSRs to make changes and rise above the competition.

"There are more than 100,000[3] QSRs in the United States alone, which makes this industry an extremely competitive marketplace," said Dr. Gary Edwards, chief customer officer, Empathica. "Of course these restaurants must be quick and have great tasting food, but service is where they can differentiate themselves from the competition. According to our Benchmark results, service is the area that needs improvement across the board – it is also a key area that can drive customer loyalty and satisfaction."

Highly Satisfied QSR Guests Four Times More Likely to Return and Recommend than Satisfied Guests

Empathica found that return visits are much higher when guests are most satisfied. The likelihood of a return visit increases from 20 percent to 81 percent when customers report a higher satisfaction rate. That significant change in customer satisfaction for a QSR can mean the difference between stagnancy and success.

When guests are strongly satisfied, they are four times more likely to recommend the restaurant to friends, family or colleagues. Word-of-mouth is a priceless marketing tool for QSRs and according to Empathica, the act of recommending promotes customer loyalty. Benchmark results showed that brands are missing an opportunity in highly important service aspects like having an attentive and friendly staff, providing a comfortable environment and making customers feel valued throughout their experience.

"There are several reasons why guests may not be willing to recommend QSRs to family and friends," Edwards said. "QSRs need to make sure they are providing a variety of menu options – including healthy choices – and going back to the basics in customer service. Greeting a customer when they enter the restaurant, suggesting menu recommendations and making that guest feel like a valued customer should be a priority alongside providing a great tasting, quickly served meal."

To receive upcoming 2013 Empathica Quick Service Restaurant Benchmark panel results and reports, subscribe to http://cem.empathica.com/subscribe-to-new-consumer-insights.

About the 2013 Empathica Quick Service Restaurant Benchmark Study:

The Empathica Quick Service Restaurant Benchmark Study launched in March 2013 and surveyed 10,000 US consumers on the top 62 QSR brands. The Benchmark measured food, order accuracy, speed of service, staff, value, cleanliness, atmosphere and menu for QSRs that customers had visited in the past 30 days. The survey also gathered the drivers behind loyalty for a QSR and for social media advocacy. Results, led by Dr. Gary Edwards and Empathica's research team, were published in July 2013. The Benchmark has been weighted to reflect latest Census distributions in the U.S., including region, gender, age and income.

About Empathica:

Empathica is the leading provider of social Customer Experience Management (CEM) programs to the world's most respected multi-unit brands in the retail, food services, automotive and hospitality sectors. Its rich analysis of survey data using state-of-the-art surveying and dashboard reporting software allows for performance-improvement solutions, evidence-based marketing insights, and customer experience management consulting.

Annually, Empathica's 30 million customer surveys in 25 languages reach more than 80,000 locations in over 50 countries. A privately-held organization, Empathica is headquartered in Toronto, Canada with executive consultant offices throughout the United States and a European office in Birmingham, England. For more information about deriving actionable insights that enhance a brand's operational excellence, visit Empathica at www.empathica.com.

1 http://www.qsrmagazine.com/reports/top-50-sorted-rank

http://www.qsrmagazine.com/qsr-50/contenders?page=2

http://www.qsrmagazine.com/reports/qsr50-2012-top-50-chart

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