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Wednesday
Oct312012

How Customer Content Helps or Hurts: Quick Service Restaurant Edition

 By: Matt Brown [Account Services]

Picture yourself on a Friday afternoon lunch break, getting ready to bite into a mouth-watering Chicken Bacon Ranch sandwich from Subway and thinking about what you’re going to be doing this weekend. But before you dive in, the urge to Instagram your meal (with a Hudson filter of course) pops into your head. “Looking forward to the weekend and eating Subway!” is posted to your Twitter news feed and all 300 of your followers get a glimpse of what your day is like. Ten minutes later, a notification pops up on your phone saying, “@Subway just retweeted your photo!” and a smile appears on your face.

The Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry has taken customer service to the next level by using social media to improve relations between businesses and the general public. Before Facebook and Twitter existed, sharing experiences with friends was limited to phone calls and emails. Social media and advanced technology have made it easier to express opinions to friends online and reach more people at a time. In today’s age of virtual living, businesses are essentially getting free advertising and publicity on the web due to customer content. This is both a blessing and a curse for businesses worldwide, as customer opinions have become more powerful than ever before.

In a recent viral video from fast food critic “Daym Drops”, he visits Five Guys Burgers & Fries and takes viewers through the amazing experience of his meal. His entertaining review is both hilarious and informative, and it could make just about anyone want to grab a meal from the burger chain. His review also prompted an Auto-Tune song that has collected over 7.5 million views on YouTube and is now being sold on iTunes – all of which is free publicity for Five Guys Burgers & Fries. The video is very relatable and people are more inclined to think about the restaurant in a favorable light after watching it, all while bringing more attention to their products and increasing sales. This helps improve the company’s image and also gives them insight on consumer wants and needs.

On the other hand, social media can also negatively impact a brand’s image. When patrons have a bad experience at an establishment, whether it’s due to poor service or a dislike of the food they were served, the first thing they do is tell their friends about it. With the emergence of user review and recommendation websites such as Yelp and InsiderPages, company reputations take a turn for the worse if they are continually bashed online. Consumers have more ways than ever to voice their opinions about a service or product. It’s important, now more than ever, for QSRs to always be at the top of their game and avoid disappointing customers.

Next time you go out for a meal, be sure to share your experience and consider creating a potential viral video of your own!