Quick Casual Restaurant
A Quick Casual restaurant with over 160 stores, nationwide, wanted to improve customer engagement and sales.  To guide this effort, the company needed a clear profile of their customers – who they are, what they value, and how the Company delivers on what customers value versus competitor restaurants.  We conducted experimental focus groups, including visiting Company and Competitor restaurants in Los Angeles, Columbus, OH and Washington, D.C.  The research yielded an especially compelling insight about sensory memory.  The client had invested heavily in an advanced ventilation system, which had the unintended consequence of removing all smells of food from the restaurant.  As a result, consumers had weak emotional connections to the brand and the food.  We were able to identify opportunities for the client to foster emotional connections to the brand by inserting specific language in the company’s concept statement, and identifying ways to introduce more sensory cues in the restaurant – imagery and aroma.