How many seconds does it take to order a burrito?
Guzman Y Gomez
May - Jul 08
Service innovation - how to sell more burritos in Australia
This case study demonstrates how service innovation improved the business case of Guzman Y Gomez (GYG), Mexican Taquerias (fast food shops). At the time, the company owners were planning to open a new shop in one of Sydney's most busy lunchtime food courts. They wanted to ensure the food ordering experience was quick and smooth enough to remove the long queues and in turn, sell more Burritos. They wanted to speed up the food ordering process without losing their food concept and company values (i.e. without becoming “McGomez”).
As a result of our experience modelling, the average ordering and queuing time was reduced by fifty per cent. Customer flow in the shop was also significantly enhanced after the experience modelling. GYG recently opened their new shop based on our new experience model and are now earning six times more during lunchtime sales than before.
The work done by Dr. Bilda and the team has dramatically changed and financially improved our business. Guzman y Gomez was re-introducing Mexican cuisine to the Australian public, but was having one major problem...most Australians didn’t understand what we were selling! Ordering times were high due to the number of questions requiring additional information. Through their behavioural research and analysis of customers, Different constructed new menu boards which we call the “GyG trusted Advisor”. Ordering times decreased by over 70%..amazing! It enabled us to sell over 250 burritos in an hour. Besides the incredible results delivered, it was a pleasure to work with such a professional and passionate team.
Steven Marks, Founder and MD, GYG
Service Design Methodology
We conducted field studies including competitor observations and analyses, GYG staff interviews, contextual enquiries, customer observations, interviews and behavioural analyses. The analyses and findings from these different research methods enabled us to come up with an experience-model to achieve a smooth and quick ordering/eating experience.
The competitors' service analysis was done in a busy food court in CBD in lunchtimes over two days and involved time tracking and structured observations. The objective was to understand how similar businesses operate and which customer service models they own. Next step was to set the research/ benchmark criteria for the whole project and compare competitors' service models to GYG. As a result, we identified the quickest ordering time, customer flow rates and the best customer task model that suits GYG.
Competitor service models
Benchmarking service models
We conducted brief contextual inquiries in-store to understand customers' approach to ordering and to explore their attitudes and social interactions. The key insight was that too many decision points paralysed the customer and they had no understanding of their choices. This was partly due to lack of visuals on the menu and lack of knowledge on base ingredients of Mexican food. We also observed that the staff compensated for the menu by helping customers choose and speed up the ordering process. It became obvious that staff expertise had to be incorporated into the menu.
At the end of contextual inquiries, we identified two types of customers: Newbies and Regulars. Regulars knew about the food and knew what to order. They could order as short as 30 seconds, however for newbies, it was taking a lot more time 2 and a half to 5 minutes. Once again this insight confirmed the need to guide customers more instead of providing all choices.
Ordering flows - newbie and a regular customer
We have used the long hours of recording on the CCTV cameras to define current customer flow in the store and other perceptual factors that affect food ordering. We have also tracked how customers repeatedly move in the store from entry to collecting their food and created customer flow maps to illustrate the flow problem.
Video monitoring in store
Customer flow map
We introduced the "Trusted Advisor" into the menu as opposed to the Do-It-Yourself model. To simplfy the menu we asked the staff what they would naturally recommend to the customers. Based on their expertise we have come up with 6 main products to choose from - supported with pictures to communicate what the food looks like (this was key as most people did not know what a burrito or a taco looked like with fillings). Customers can quickly order one of the items with a photo - and this saves a lot of time in majority of the cases.
Menu priority areas
In terms of spatio- temporal design, I proposed a new layout that encourages a cyclic flow and takes the load off from queuing spots. In order to further regulate the customer flow, I nominated a single delivery point and specific areas for queuing and waiting spots where customers may learn more about Mexican food. Customer flow maps before and after the design show the dramatic flow improvements in the store.
Customer flow map before redesign
Customer flow map after redesign
After making the layout changes in the store, we printed a large poster version of the new menu design and hung it over the existing menu board at a peak hour - and monitored customer behaviour for 3 hours. Our objective was to test customer acceptance of the new menu, measure ordering/ queuing times, and to track new customer flow. Feedback on the new menu design was mostly positive, customer flow was enhanced and the most significant change was the ordering times. As a result of our experience modelling, the average ordering and queuing time was reduced by fifty per cent. GYG launched our new experience model in several stores and on the first day of the opening they earned six times more than before.
Ordering and queing times improved after redesign
Sales before and after the redesign