Customer Experience (CX) is broadly defined as the emotions, opinions, and perceptions your customers have when they:

  • Discover your brand
  • Research your menu offerings
  • Interact and purchase food from your cafe
  • Continue to interact with your brand, your products, and your people

In the foodservice industry, the customer experience has always focused on the inside 4 walls of your cafes.

Happy CustomersThink about all the “marketing” that you’ve done to impact the customer’s experience. You play on the 5 senses (taste, smell, touch, sight, and hearing). You are proud of cafe designs and remodels. You want the best and right equipment for your customers. The way you lay out your menus, display your food, and provide customer service all impact the customer experience.

Think about the intense scrutiny by which you analyze the check-out process. You are a guru in line management. You care about POS terminal speed, messaging to help guide foot traffic, and the placement of intangible items like condiments and silverware. All these things matter -- because you are passionate about the customer experience!

You do great things for your customers - especially in the environment that you control - your cafe!

But here is the kicker.

Despite this amazing effort onsite, if all you do is focus on your customer’s experience inside the walls of your cafe, you are behind. The game is slipping away because the best place to create a strong customer experience is outside your physical location.

Customers have evolved and now demand a strong and positive experience which is both virtual and digital.

You are now evaluated by your experience that you provide digitally via web, voice, touch, and mobile devices. Customer demands for this digital experience revolve around certain pillars:

  • Convenience
  • Informative and transparent (also, accurate and honest)
  • User-friendly
  • Timely
  • And many more

Foodservice operators in every industry have struggled to create an impressive digital customer experience. At least, it’s not as impressive as the experience you provide on-site. And that needs to change. 

Why is creating a digital customer experience so difficult? A few reasons. 

Untitled-14First, the digital customer experience has a direct impact on the operator experience (more on that soon). At the expense of your team, you’ve likely embraced technologies and solutions that enforce a heavy operator tax that weighs on the satisfaction of your operators. 

Second, everyone is chasing the new innovation and shiny object. Individual applications or point solutions are not, in and of themselves, the customer experience. They are only applications of the customer experience. Because many have not built the foundation of a strong digital customer experience, the unique applications (i.e. ordering kiosks, delivery robots, etc) actually detract from the intended goal of delighting your customers!

Finally, your technology partners have only provided elements of a digital experience and not a platform for consistent customer experiences. 


You should be applauded for all the great things you are doing, especially for the focus and priority of the customers you serve. Well done! Before you take a bow, please know that these same customers are now demanding a very new and innovative experience found across the digital devices they use and prefer. The success of your operation depends on your ability to create meaningful digital experiences for your customers and meet them where they want to be!

Continue reading

In our second post of this 3 part series, we’ll highlight the equally important and often forgotten companion to a strong customer experience → the operator experience! Only when you successfully combine CX (Customer Experience) with a great OX (Operator Experience) are you on the path to predictable success!

Part 2: What is the Operator Experience?