Meeting customers’ needs

Published 6:52 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Pinterest pin said it best, “Whoever put the ‘s’ in fast food is a clever person.” But fast food restaurants are doing something about it. And that little “s” now represents the service and speed of successful operations.

According to national consumer marketing group NDP, the past four years have been tough on restaurants. Most have seen a 16-percent decline in customers between the ages of 18 and 30, known as the millenials, over that period. Across all generations, the decline has been about 4 percent in the past decade.

People are cutting expenses and viewing dining out as a luxury.

The millenials are still spending money in fast-food restaurants. Part of the appeal is that it is, well, fast, and this generation is always on the go. We have local pizza chains taking online orders. Even the convenience stores have gotten more convenient. Washington’s newest addition, Sheetz, is the perfect example of what it takes to attract the millennial generation. Food orders are placed on touch screens and the food is served 24/7.

But another feature reeling people in is more-healthful menu items.

A few local businesses have taken lessons from the big boys. The menus are widening the gap between “fat food” and “fast food.” Restaurateurs reach out to patrons through social media, offer healthful meals and maintain speedy service.

What makes these local guys really stand out is customer service.  Now, that’s good business.