Design can be a dramatic point of difference for QSR's. In part 1 of this series we ask Dominic Feik of Sumo Visual Group what elements you need to think about if you want to overhaul your in-house experience.
QSR Media: What does a QSR need to think about if they are about to transform their in-store experience?
Dominic: Understanding the path to purchase starting from the approach to the store, through the store, to the point of purchase, and back out again. Communicating the right messages at all points in this journey is really important. We had one client who achieved significant improvement in sales of complementary products through use of animation right at the point of purchase, while another is using rapidly changing externally-facing signage to raise awareness of less well known offers in order to bring new customers into the store.
Use of materials to deliver different textures and colour can really change the feel of a store – for instance with use of printing on glass, textured wallpaper graphics, perforated aluminium. A good design will deliver a unique experience in a cost effective way.
Equally important is a store design that offers flexibility to respond to events and competitors. Speed to market is becoming an increasingly critical competitive factor, and a design that allows new offers – or offers with a short life-span – to be rolled out quickly, especially across large chains, can make a big difference to this.
Use of digital signage delivers new capabilities that enables store design to be thought about in different ways – for instance through the introduction of moving images, animation and video into the store to bring a more dynamic and engaging feel to the store; and day-parting to change emphasis throughout the day. We have another client looking at video projection to deliver a calming, relaxed atmosphere through slow movement of silhouette images.
Durability is also a key consideration in designing an in-store experience. QSR environments are harsh operating environments, so a supplier with experience in QSR environments is critical – whether that is to specify substrates and finishes that endure over frequent cleaning, or digital components that work reliably in high grease and heat environments.
QSR Media: How can design give a QSR a competitive edge?
Dominic: The obvious factor is in creating an ambience that sets a store apart, making it more attractive to customers and encouraging retention
Effective use of signage can also increase the value of each customer – for instance through menu design that encourages purchase of higher value meal options, or point of purchase communication that influences impulse purchases
Integrating digital displays with dayparting to communicate different messages at different times of the days enables a QSR to really drive the performance of different time-of-day meal offerings – e.g. breakfast and afternoon snack.
Digital displays with touch functionality that integrate with customers mobile devices can also drive loyalty.
Cost-effectiveness of design is critical – both in terms of upfront cost, but also in setting in place the operational costs (e.g. updating signage), and in longevity of a fit-out.
QSR Media: Any notable mentions, both good and bad?
Dominic: The McDonalds Doveton is a concept store that integrates a new signage style, ambience graphics, extensive use of timber, and fully-digital menu boards (including drive through). While it is a very high-tech store, it also delivers a warm, friendly feel.
Grill’d design is a great example of selective use of materials to create a modern yet warm feel, while their décor graphics deliver an authentic, urban feel.
Sumo Salad do a great job in delivering a store that is relevant to a particular audience segment, while at the same time being attuned to maximising the value of each customer, for instance through their use of dynamic point of purchase displays.
In terms of the less positive, QSR chains that can’t deliver a consistent brand or feel across the chain through frequent, uncor-ordinated design changes may be wasting customer value.
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