[Opinion Piece] Customisation trend impacts QSR sector


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Yolandi Ferreira - Maxis

In a world where everyone wants to make their own personal mark, customisation is a burgeoning global trend. Personalised cars, cell phones, diets, calendars, gifts and jewellery are the order of the day, and not forgetting your Facebook page and those cola cans with your own name on them. Maxi’s marketing manager, Yolandi Ferreira says consumers today want to create their own unique products in order to enjoy a shopping experience that reflects their personalities and that this trend is also impacting the QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) sector.

Maxi's logoOur lifestyles are pressurised and amid the daily grind of earning a living, personal expression is a pleasant and desirable escape that confirms we are still individuals amid all the noise of daily life. Having an element of choice can make us feel empowered and affords a sense of control. Research has revealed that more than 70% of consumers are likely to become repeat customers if they believe they have had a targeted, relevant and personalised experience. This way, they feel they are getting value for their money and many consumers are even willing to pay a bit more to have a great customer experience.

Since gaining loyal customers is just as important as attracting new customers, the onus is on marketers to align with the personalisation trend or be left behind. As one commentator described it, “the genie is now out of the bottle and can’t be put back”. Around the world, companies who are customising their offering to suit consumer preferences are reporting increased sales. Also contributing to the bottom line are the emerging new marketing opportunities that make it possible to monitor customer preferences, reduce capital commitment and mitigate over-production.

The QSR sector is rapidly recognising and aligning with this trend. Pizza restaurants have been offering customised topping choices for some time. In the USA, a major pizza chain now offers an app that lets you pick each and every topping and even offers a pizza slot machine feature for those who just can’t decide what kind of pizza they want.  Some of the major international burger chains have long since jumped on this bandwagon. Their latest foray into the customisation realm is the introduction of pilot kiosks with large touchscreens at certain restaurants in the USA that allow customers to order their burgers exactly as they like them. This technology not only ensures speed of delivery and convenience, but also delivers on that desirable notion that your meal has been made just for you.

Maxi’s prides itself on listening to our customers and keeping up with trends in our arena. Our restaurants are now offering two customisable items on the menu, allowing customers to start with the basics and create their own meal. For breakfast customers, Maxi’s offers the ‘All about the base’ breakfast that comes with certain standard elements and allows customers to build their own personal meal by adding a choice of extras. For lunch and dinner, the ‘All about the base’ burger is simply a bun with a patty, lettuce and mayonnaise that invites customers to make it their own by adding all the extras they love.

These customised offerings are underpinned by an in-store competition offering prizes such as smartphones and tablets, and are being driven home through a robust advertising campaign under the banner “Create Your Own”. The campaign effectively reflects Maxi’s motto, “More than just a meal”.

Erin Hargis of Food IQ insights, recently wrote this on the QSR Web site:For customers, customisation is all about getting what they want, when they want it. Whether this is in the form of expanded menu items, redesigned menus, digital ordering, or build-your-own, QSRs have a lot of options for appealing to the needs of the customers. It starts with listening to your customers and expanding your menu, or offering options that appeal to their needs. Listen to the consumer and they will tell you want they want.”

At Maxi’s this is what we do best.

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