Frictionless Customer Experience Examples
in Food Service

Making the experience for your customer as frictionless as possible provides a base of value in the relationship, boosting the trust they have in you, and the organization. While exploring frictionless customer experience examples in food service, there are various dynamics that need to be analyzed.

Article originally published September 2019

Innovation and Frictionless Customer Experience

Customer experience can make or break an organization. Establishing a base of value and credibility in every customer interaction is crucial to growing your client base, and nurturing your existing accounts. Many of us are familiar with the term, but how does technological innovation intertwine with it?

Looking from the lenses of a consumer, we want our experience with an organization, product, and/or service to be as smooth and pain-free as possible. In a general sense, we like the ease at which we’re served and the effort it takes away from us. At the same time, we do want a sense of “experience” on a personal level, just enough to where it doesn’t interfere with how prompt we receive said service. In the restaurant industry, the way to achieve this is a delicate balancing act between customer service and IT, where team members want to make an innovative impact on the consumers behalf.

restaurant innovation and frictionless customer experience

Frictionless Customer Experience Examples

A previous study conducted by Stanford University attempted to assess the perspective taking fundamentals of a group of students through an exercise. In this study, each student was instructed to draw the letter “E” on their forehead in whichever way they chose. If the student wrote the “E”  in a self-oriented direction, meaning it was backwards to others, this indicated a potential lack of perspective taking. On the other hand, if a student wrote the “E” in a way that was right-facing to others, this indicated that person had stronger perspective taking skills.

Tailoring services and products to fit the needs of customers is crucial to retaining them in the long run, especially in the dynamic nature of food service. Restaurants are constantly met with the pressure to innovate front and back-of-house operations to not only keep up with demand, but ensure their product is desired in the right medium.

Domino’s Pizza is among one of these industry giants who seem to thrive on innovation, paying close attention to consumer behavior to provide the most frictionless customer experience possible. This practice can be seen by various efforts within the organization:

  • Online ordering and tracking of the entire process, from start to finish

  • In-store kiosks for easier/expedited ordering offered on site at larger Domino’s branches

  • “DOM”, the mobile order bot assistant who responds to voice commands

“The consumer experience is where differentiation occurs. It’s the people keen on implementing technologies that will benefit customers that both brands seek.”

Dennis Maloney, Domino’s Chief Digital Officer

Many of us know that Domino’s in particular does an excellent job at the balancing act of restaurant innovation and frictionless customer experience. Even when we do not interact with a human representative for the duration of the order, more often than not, we receive expert customer service when we do.

A Cultural Shift in IT

Domino’s Chief Digital Officer, Dennis Maloney will tell you that it takes a cultural shift within the IT department to accurately pair customer service with innovative IT initiatives. On the topic of hiring new members to the Domino’s IT team, Maloney stated in a recent article that:

“Candidates want to make an impact and change the trajectory of a company, not be an ancillary part of it. We were in a somewhat lucky position because we spent so much energy making sure the consumer experience was good, it has actually helped out our reputation as a tech company.”

Quote From: The Race for Tech Talent

In order for an organization to efficiently pair innovation with the personal touch of customer service, IT members need to focus on developing a culture that excites candidates. The IT department especially must nurture a “start-up mindset” in order to continuously tailor their solutions towards the winding needs to food industry customers.

Embrace New Technology Without Becoming Faceless

Digital transformation is impacting businesses for the better. Automation is especially a hot topic among digital trends that is affecting organizations (internally and externally), as well as consumers alike. New technology like Natural Language Processing (NLP) allows customers to manage general inquiries through an automated voice recognition system, without waiting in line to speak to a representative about their issue. This is especially true for organizations like MOD Pizza, who now offers voice assisted ordering over the phone, while the bot listening reminds you of your previous order to make the process potentially faster.

MOD Pizza however, is also known for their speedy start to finish pizza creation process, with their tagline indeed being “super fast”. Customers who opt to eat in store rather than carry out, are always greeted with a universal “hi, welcome in” from the entire staff (who are seen up front). The pizza itself is made right in front of the consumer (in what resembles a Subway sandwich creation line) before it’s placed in the brick oven. Further, those who order in store have the option to use rewards points from the Mod Mobile App to potentially reduce the already low cost of their pizza.

Thrive on Experience

In today’s fast-paced restaurant environment, the balancing act of innovation and frictionless customer experience is an art that must be nurtured. If an organization wants to retain a longstanding consumer base, its people must maintain a dynamic and solution oriented mindset, embrace technology without becoming faceless, and strive to always think from a consumer perspective.

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