From Drive-Thru to Digital: Navigating CRM and Marketing Automation for QSRs

By Gaby Carmichael

Quick-Services Restaurants (QSRs) are built on a foundation of anticipating and fulfilling customer desires, and minimizing any obstacles between the customer and their desired experience. All in all, the customer experience is at the forefront of QSR priorities. But the customer experience doesn’t start and stop in the drive-thru lane – like most of our world, it’s gone digital. 

If customer relationships are the foundation, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is your toolbox. It’s not just tech-talk – your CRM plays a vital role in maintaining customer satisfaction, driving loyalty, and ultimately boosting revenue. 

However, wrapping your head around the right CRM solution (and the time and resources to implement that solution) can be a daunting task. Join us as we delve into the essential factors to consider when choosing a CRM for Quick-Service Restaurants.

Understanding Your Current Tech Stack

Eliminating data gaps in your marketing strategy is one of the primary benefits of CRMs and Automation Platforms for QSRs. If you’re exploring CRMs it’s probable that you already have a number of platforms activated across your business line: point-of-sale system (POS), website CMS, social media platforms, ad platforms, and maybe even other contact databases or email platforms.

Do the CRMs/Automation platforms you’re considering integrate with your current technology? After all, how good is data if you can’t leverage it for your marketing strategy? 

Making sure your POS and other platforms can be seamlessly integrated opens up a world of opportunity for your marketing strategy when it comes to segmentation. Here’s a few examples:

  • • Leveraging recent purchases to promote new menu items to a specific group of customers
  • • Applying customer data to your retention strategy by celebrating customer anniversaries and birthdays with discounts/coupons
  • • Using first-party data as a part of your paid media strategy to level up your remarketing campaigns and leverage lookalike audiences for customer expansion

Be sure to thoroughly explore the integrations or app marketplace for your selected platform so you can level-up your marketing strategy.

The (Actual) Cost of Onboarding and Maintaining a CRM

QSRs must carefully consider the time, budget, and resources required for onboarding to a CRM and marketing automation platform. This process involves more than just implementing new software—it necessitates a strategic approach to ensure smooth integration and ongoing success. It’s crucial for QSRs to designate a champion within their organization to oversee the onboarding process.

Some of the responsibilities of the QSR champion include:

  • • Maintaining data cleanliness
  • • Ensuring compliance with regulations
  • • Regularly monitoring automations and campaigns for accuracy

By having a dedicated champion in place, QSRs can mitigate potential issues, optimize their CRM and marketing efforts, and ultimately enhance the overall customer experience. Therefore, you shouldn’t just consider the software price, but also the price to hire someone (or outsource) the onboarding and ongoing management of your platform.

trust the qsr marketing experts

Tip: For the most seamless onboarding process, experienced data management, and campaign execution, as well as ultimate efficiency and effectiveness, we highly recommend enlisting the expertise of seasoned professionals (hint, hint). It’s not our first rodeo when it comes to helping QSRs leverage their customer data for a more effective marketing program. Reach out to our team to learn more.

Scalability and Flexibility

It’s essential to choose a platform that can scale alongside your business, accommodating the growth of your customer base, expanding locations, and increasing data volume seamlessly. (Ex. consider your number of contacts. If the CRM you’re exploring charges per contact volume, your charges will increase as you increase in customers.) 

Additionally, be sure to opt for a CRM platform that offers flexibility for customization to tailor it to the unique needs and processes of your QSR. The way you need data to be organized, campaigns to be structured, and content to be approved might not look the same as every other QSR. Whether it’s implementing loyalty programs, optimizing order management systems, or collecting and acting upon customer feedback, a customizable CRM solution ensures that your QSR can adapt and thrive in a dynamic market landscape.

Current and Future-State Marketing Program

In addition to CRM functionality, QSRs should carefully consider their marketing strategy when selecting a platform. Ideally, they would want to leverage various marketing tools such as automation, campaign organization, email marketing, social media marketing, and more. Do all your strategies align with your selected platform? And if they don’t, are you able to seamlessly integrate in order to make sure each part of your marketing strategy can speak to another? It’s crucial to assess whether the chosen CRM platform supports these marketing functionalities or allows seamless integration with third-party tools. 

QSRs should evaluate both their current marketing needs and their future aspirations, considering factors like team size and resources available. How will your team grow and how will this affect licenses, expertise, and training required for this particular CRM?

Ready to Take Customer Experience to the Next Level?

Navigating the world of marketing automation and CRMs for QSRs can indeed be a daunting undertaking. However, it’s a crucial step that QSRs must take to stay competitive in today’s market. To ensure success, partner with a knowledgeable and experienced team. Campfire Consulting, with our expertise in QSR operations, marketing strategy, and CRM implementation, is an ideal partner for QSRs embarking on this journey. With our guidance, QSRs can navigate the complexities of CRM selection and implementation with confidence, unlocking new opportunities for growth, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. Together, QSRs and Campfire Consulting can harness the power of CRM technology to drive meaningful connections with customers and propel their businesses forward. Let us know how we can help.


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