In a new set of guest sentiment data from feedback platform Tattle, the customer was not entirely happy and the experiences outside the workplace in particular could have been better.
Overall, sentiment has been down since January 2021 across the board. Eating in, eating out, and delivery are all covered in Tattle’s look at nearly 200 brands and 10,000 locations in the system.
The drop in satisfaction with dinner wasn’t exceptional, but takeout and delivery did drop even more, according to Tattle founder and CEO Alex Beltrani.
“It’s not normal for food quality, speed, packaging and quality to go down in general. Eating inside has been fairly wide because that has been the norm forever,” Beltani said. “This tells me restaurants are still in an adaptive mode.”
This makes sense, he said, as restaurants have a lot of problems from hiring to the supply chain and trying to balance new and growing segments of the business as traffic returns across the country.
In essence, restaurants are harking back to the old ways of doing business while much of the new business is in the form of off-premises and delivery. Those who set up a business on those segments do well when it comes to guest sentiment as per the results.
“There are some sectors that have been doing takeout and delivery forever. I think you see that the pizza brands generally excel. We have a few other noodles, more Chinese noodles or ramen that are doing really well — that chip has always been doing well,” Beltani said. Little fast food and delivery.
Taco brands, burger brands and upscale brands are just the opposite. When presentation matters, external feelings tend to suffer. The more upscale, the worse. This is where the value equation becomes difficult for consumers, they are not happy to pay more for a worse experience.
“Where we see more discontent as ticket prices go up, they are being hit hard,” Beltani said.
As shown in the chart to the right, packaging and speed of service are a huge burden on consumer sentiment. Value is the worst barrier to satisfaction, and it helps capture how consumers expect a better price experience, which Beltani sees in the data.
“The value is inclusive, and the value correlates with overall satisfaction at 0.9, so any issue with overall satisfaction will be affected as is the value,” Beltani said.
Virtual brands seem to have issues, potentially doing so to increase businesses that attract more interest than “partial earnings opportunity.” This is a problem that is difficult to solve because it can be systematic, as Beltani sees it.
“You’re targeting another restaurant owner who might have built a living flipping burgers or serving tacos in their business. You’re giving them this micro-income opportunity, and you might be 10 percent of the revenue you bring in for a new brand, and the team isn’t aware,” Beltani said. The brand and team are distracted from the core business.” “So, they get partial attention and care.”
This all adds up to some bad feelings about virtual brands in the past year. Despite the explosive growth in the industry, Beltani said, “There is a great need in this area to learn from customer feedback and identify areas to work on.”
The pickup scored the worst among the operational categories, showing significant room for improvement. Beltani said there are still a lot of issues with a likely new way of doing business for many brands, certainly one that requires some thought.
“It’s probably a new procedure for a lot of these brands, we see in a lot of brands there is no flow of delivery. They probably work with someone at home. When you get to this predicament, ‘Do I stand in line, where do I go?’” Beltani said. “With transportation, these are all areas that are getting better with technology and time. When you go to Shake Shack, you’ll find your name on the board, and that’s where you are in the process. But we are still at this educational stage as an industry.”
But with great challenges come great opportunities! Beltrani said some of Tattle’s partner brands are starting with some low sentiment about outdoor workplaces. Dave’s Hot Chicken described it as getting some not-so-perfect feedback early on in the brand’s out-of-the-workplace education, but it’s now “on fire” as one of the fastest growing casual brands. As with the Melt Shop in New York, it does “well” in the delivery of grilled cheese, one of the most delicate items in delivery.
Take a look at the full report by clicking here.