Customer Experience

Client Success Story: The World's Largest Casual Dining Chain - Part Two

In Part One we established that the owner of some of America’s most iconic casual dining brands was unable to explain – to shape interventions to rectify - an ongoing monthly revenue decline in the tens of millions. To make matters more problematic, their restaurant managers were reporting via an exit survey of guests that guests were likely to return to the restaurants – in direct conflict with the brands’ plummeting revenue figures.

Part Two: The Solution

Forethought undertook research, including a quantified hierarchical Journey Map and Defection Modelling, identifying that in fact, contrary to the restaurant managers’ surveys (collected on the dockets of departing guests) 14% of customers had no intention of returning.

The financial loss was significant, and even a 10% improvement in guest retention would contribute over $90 million in annual revenue.


Figure 1: Guest intention to return

This analysis unearthed two inverse relationships in data:

1) the ‘Docket Surveys’ and revenue had an almost perfectly inverse correlation.

2) what the restaurant staff ranked as the drivers of a good dining experience, versus what guests ranked as the hierarchy of drivers of a good dining experience was again almost entirely inverse. The staff were almost completely wrong.

Forethought then mapped the guest experience and quantitively validated the priority pain points that required immediate management and franchisee action.

With the data in hand, the client and Forethought established a working group to focus with brutal singularity on a short list of interventions which could be universally applied across the restaurant chain to correct operational performance.

Once that challenge was addressed, Forethought and the client moved to the communications strategy to drive acquisition.

Communications: Forethought applied our patented Prophecy Thoughts and Feelings® methodology to establish the key rational and implicit emotional drivers of choice to then inform the messaging to build an effective commercial program for the restaurant chain.

Via advanced analytical modelling and qualitative contextualization of the data, Forethought established the priority Quality driver and the specific Emotion driving choice, plus the elements of the chain’s Price Brand that were the key drawcard to bring customers back to the restaurants.

Find out the results of this leading American brand’s new strategy in part three.

For more information on this research or any enquiries contact:

Jen Hanson | VP, Client Development | [email protected] | +1 415 987 8260

Tim O’Brien | Senior VP, Consulting | timothy.o’[email protected] | +1 917 825 3503


Forethought is a marketing advisory, strategy and analytics firm supporting clients to drive in-market outcomes via brand, communications, customer experience and offer optimization. Our team partner with leading brands in North America and the Asia Pacific region from offices in New York and Melbourne, Australia. Forethought works with organizations in the B2B and B2C space, including Telecommunications, Aviation, Logistics, Banking, Insurance, Wealth, Retail, Allied Health, Pharmaceutical, Education, Property, Digital, Law, Professional Services and Consumer Goods.

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