There are five key standards consumers expect when they walk into a restaurant. Missing the mark on any one of these can turn your guest into a one-time visitor. But, if you are firing on all five cylinders at your restaurant, you greatly increase the chances of delivering guest experiences that drive positive sentiments and loyalty.
The five powerfully simple guest expectations include:
- Speed of service
The Smoothie King business model enables owners and their teams to achieve high marks in each area. Here’s how/why:
How clean your restaurant is – whether it’s a quick-service, fast-casual or full-service restaurant – is one of the first things consumers notice. If it looks or smells unclean, you can count on losing customers.
Cleanliness is especially vital for a smoothie franchise, where ingredients are supposed to be fresh and smoothies are made in front of customers. It’s even more important for each location in the Smoothie King franchise system, which strives to be a part of every guest’s health and fitness journey. If a smoothie bar is not clean, they’ll have a hard time convincing consumers they are there to help them live healthier lives.
The Smoothie King model enables franchisees to maintain a clean store with streamlined and simple operations. We make smoothies, and nothing else, so there’s minimal equipment to clean. The equipment consists mainly of blenders, refrigerators and freezers.
Our recipe management engine (RME) also promotes cleanliness by eliminating food waste. When an order is placed, the RME automatically produces a list of ingredients and their respective quantities.
Your blends must taste good if you plan on providing a memorable guest experience at your smoothie bar. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how good for you something is if it doesn’t taste good. No one will buy it. It’s the cost of entry for you to compete with other smoothie concepts.
At Smoothie King, we work with a food scientist with a culinary background and a nutritionist who help develop smoothies that are both delicious and nutritious.
We also stay on top of taste trends among consumers, which change from season to season. For example, we know that our guests’ cravings shift from light, fruity blends in the summer to blends and flavors that are heartier in the fall and winter. Our limited time offer (LTO) summer hydration smoothies, such as Dragon Fruit, Lemon Green Tea and Watermelon Hibiscus, will be replaced by our dark chocolate meal replacement LTO smoothies for the colder months.
By meeting the taste demands for each season, Smoothie King franchisees provide a great guest experience where taste is concerned.
Because we focus on promoting healthy and active lifestyles for our guests, the quality of our ingredients must reflect that. We began improving the quality of our smoothies with our Clean Blends initiative. We use more whole fruits and vegetables. We do not use artificial colors, preservatives or flavors, hydrogenated oils or trans fats. We do not add sugar to many of our purpose blends.
We did this because we listened to what our guests and the general public were saying about the quality of what they consume. They demand cleaner ingredients in everything they eat because healthier living is an increasing concern among more Americans.
Our RME ensures that we maintain quality. With every smoothie we make, the same ingredients and portions are used across the entire Smoothie King system.
4. Speed of Service
When it comes to quick-service restaurants, such as Smoothie King, customers do not like to wait. Whether they walk into a Smoothie King store and place their order at the counter or order from their car in a drive-thru, they expect service to be completed within a matter of minutes.
Smoothie King’s simple operations, RME and employee training help the smoothie making process run like a well-oiled machine, getting the right smoothies in the hands of the right guests quickly.
Improving speed of service is a constant goal for us, so we strive to be as convenient as possible without diminishing quality. Today, every food concept has to think about delivery because people love the convenience of having prepared food brought right to their door. Third-party delivery apps are fueling that demand. That’s why Smoothie King is partnering with GrubHub. The delivery service allows us to serve the portion of the market that prefers not to drive or is unable to drive.
Food delivery is becoming more in-demand and essential for restaurants to offer. By partnering with GrubHub, we give each Smoothie King franchisee the opportunity to expand their market, and each guest the opportunity to receive their favorite smoothie at home quickly.
Friendly service contributes significantly to an exceptional experience. Dealing with an employee who is not helpful, apathetic or unfriendly is one of the top reasons customers do not return to restaurants.
Many strive to hire individuals who are passionate about health and wellness, like Brian Griffith, a franchisee who owns a Smoothie King in the southern suburbs of Chicago. He found that their passion can be contagious with the rest of the team.
“I hired a really good manager with a strong background in nutrition,” he said. “It’s important to have someone who understands nutrition and health and can communicate that to our guests. We needed to communicate our Clean Blends message, our health and fitness journey message, to our guests.”
Some franchisees pull from their previous experience to shape the members of their team. Eric Jones, a retired Air Force colonel who owns multiple Smoothie King units in Georgia, instilled the core values he gained during his 30-year service. They include:
- Integrity first
- Service before self
- Excellence in all we do
“We take those core values and apply them to any kid who comes through the door,” he said. “They’re essential to building up the individual, to meet the standards you have for your particular franchise.”
Laying the Groundwork for Guest Loyalty
When our guests walk into a Smoothie King store, they expect a superior level of service as well as an exceptionally good smoothie. By delivering on cleanliness, taste, quality, speed of service and friendliness, we know our guests will return because they’ve had a great experience.