It was a Saturday afternoon, time for our customary family weekend lunch at the local food court. It was Pranathi our nine year old daughter’s turn to select the cuisine. She walked around and picked a local brand of fast food. I remembered that she wanted to try Japanese food a few days ago, which was right next to the stall she chose. I reminded her and asked her why the change? She said “look, there are so many people waiting in front of this – which means the food must be good. Whereas, there isn’t a single person waiting in front of the Japanese food stall”. Sounded logical and I was intrigued.
We decided to go with her selection. The process involved paying and then waiting in front of the stall for the order number to be called for us to pick up our order – which was not more than 3 -5 minutes. While waiting, I could not help notice the process in the Japanese stall. They had a hi-tech solution – each customer was given a buzzer which would get activated when the order was ready. Hence there was no need for the customer to wait around.
The consultant in me got the better of me. So, I decided to speak to the manager of the Japanese stall and asked him why none of his competitors in the food court had anything like this. He said, the technology came with the franchise and they were mandated to use it.
For most of us, selecting a restaurant is based on reviews which is now mostly online or recommendations from friends. Selection of Fast-Food Restaurants which was the case in this instance, is significantly influenced by visual information. The look of the stall, the staff, packaging, food on display and most importantly the only visible recommendation, the number of people waiting in front of the stall. It made me wonder if too much technology was at use and more importantly was it helping the business?
Now that we know the reason for the lack of customers hovering around the stall, no prizes for guessing the cuisine on our next weekend family lunch.