fast casual

How fast casual restaurants can foster customer loyalty with a lasting impression

By Jasmine Kafka

Fast casual restaurants have the perfect recipe for families-on-the-go: convenient, fast and often featuring healthy meal options. Plus, no clean up! The question is, how do you create a meaningful connection with your customer when their visits are brief and interactions are minimal?

Fast and fantastic first impressions

It may be cliché but first impressions are the most lasting. While interactions with your customers might not be lengthy, you can easily squeeze some attentive, friendly service into even the busiest dinner rush. It is always noticed and appreciated. For example:

  • Take the time to smile! You’ll help alleviate any stress or rush in your customers’ demeanor
  • Make eye contact so that your customers don’t feel like they’re “just another faceless patron”
  • Acknowledge kids with a friendly “Hi!” or “How are you?” but don’t necessarily expect a response (some kids are very shy!)

Connect with your staff often to see if there are any solutions or ideas they have to make your business run smoother. Hiring secret shoppers to dine at your restaurant is another great way to obtain feedback on ways to improve.

Fast and kid-friendly? Let’s do it!

Fast casual is quickly becoming the go-to option for families with jam-packed schedules. Take some time to consider your brand from a kid’s-eye-view. Is there an enticing activity booklet for them to take home? Considering that kids play a big role in deciding where their family will dine, don’t leave them out of the connection equation! According to a recent Kidzsmart survey, 53 per cent of kids expect an activity sheet with crayons in fast casual environments!

Unique dining experiences offer unique promotional opportunities

Folded print booklets, newsletters and tabletop gaming experiences are just some of the ways that fast casual restaurants can create a significant branded connection with their customers. Think about a cello-wrapped, folded activity sheet alongside some crayons and you have a great package to drop into your guests’ meal bags! Digital applications and “sticky” games are other great ways to extend your brand awareness and messaging into the home.

Whether dining in-house or taking food home to enjoy, your Fast Casual brand has unique opportunities for customer loyalty and connection-on-the-go! This is especially true for millennial parents who crave engaging and educational experiences for their children.

About the author

Jasmine Kafka is Manager of Marketing Communications and Account Services at Kidzsmart, a kids and family marketing firm based in Vancouver, BC. Their focus is on increasing family engagement for their clients by developing revenue-driving and loyalty-inducing kids and family experiences. Through the use of children’s illustrations, storytelling, character development and fun participation games, Kidzsmart develops brand relationships that last.

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