Get to Know Our Customers: Krystal Restaurants

By Jason Bench March 1, 2023 Blog, Restaurant
krystal restaurant logo

Founded in 1932 by Rody Davenport Jr. and partner J. Glenn Sherrill Krystal Restaurants has always been dedicated to a quality customer experience. Cleanliness has been at the center of their approach from the beginning. After Davenport’s wife, Mary, noticed a nearby sparkling clean crystal ball lawn ornament, the partners used her inspiration to name their original 25×10 foot restaurant. The first order ever placed was for six “Krystal” burgers and a cup of coffee, with a total bill of 35 cents. Now, there’s much more at stake. In 90 years, Davenport’s and Sherrill’s investment of $5,000 has grown into a multi-million dollar business with over 300 locations across the Southeastern United States, more than 100 of which are franchises. Krystal is still dedicated to providing every diner with a quality meal at a sparkling clean restaurant, regardless of which location they choose. Company president Thomas Stager says, “Our guiding principles encompass Krystal Restaurants’ values and guide our organization. They create a culture where everyone understands what is important and helps our organization to drive performance, customer, stakeholder and employee satisfaction.”

At Krystal, management believes that the best way to build the relationships that lead to customer loyalty is by putting those values into action. However, they were facing an issue with consistency exacerbated by the limits of their existing auditing system, The problem was that, after one of their Above Store Leaders identified an issue, they didn’t have a way to close the loop on assigned items. Incident resolution was time-consuming and accuracy wasn’t guaranteed. Stager says, “We needed an audit platform that would provide us real-time assessments and the ability for instantly creating action plans with action items and timelines.” His leadership team searched for universally-accessible software that any of them could leverage to help follow up on to-do lists and ensure that suggested changes actually took place. They also wanted users to be able to take photos and notes, so that Above Store Leaders could track issues by status and evaluate whether they were resolved appropriately.

“Our interest in MeazureUp came about as we worked to find a structured platform that would aid our Above Store Leaders to drive performance and improvement with consistent visits,” says Ralph McKee, director of operations services for Krystal. “We considered 10 different platforms along with the one we were using as we searched for potential use.” Today, Krystal Restaurants is accomplishing their goals with AuditApp by MeazureUp, a state-of-the-art, portable digital field assessment tool that ensures every location is responsible for meeting brand standards and accountable for making necessary adjustments when they’re not upheld.

The Value of Field Audits for Multi-Location Restaurant Chains

For any restaurant owner or operator, frequent diners ensure a steady flow of income and strengthen brand reputation through word of mouth recommendations. That repeat business is critical to any business and is especially so to the success of multi-unit restaurant operators. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, it’s estimated that it costs up to 7 times more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. This finding is echoed and amplified by the National Restaurant Association, which found that repeat customers spend 67% more than new ones when visiting a restaurant.

Consistency is one of the most important elements of a strong brand. Customers must be able to trust that they will enjoy the same top-notch experience, no matter which of a company’s sites they visit. This consistency is so essential to building customer trust that a study by Accenture concluded that 70% of customers would switch brands if the quality of their experience was inconsistent. Field assessments that take place via a physical visit to each location to observe and evaluate operations, cleanliness, and customer experience are the best way for multi-unit restaurant operators to ensure that brand standards are consistently met at all locations. These on-site assessments provide a hands-on approach to verifying compliance with established standards, allowing operators to see the operations in real-time, providing a more accurate representation of the customer experience, and identifying gaps that can negatively impact revenue.

Every detail should be considered, including:

  • Menu offerings
  • Design and atmosphere
  • Service standards
  • Cleanliness
  • Food storage and handling
  • Customer communication

Krystal Restaurants Meets Brand Standards Across Locations with MeazureUp

Traditional pen and paper systems present a wide range of problems in a modern field assessment system. They often rely on self-reporting and can be subject to bias or inaccuracies. They are slow, as information is manually transferred from a clipboard to a spreadsheet and then emailed around an organization. Worst of all, they frequently fail to create immediate response leading to effective change. Reports are printed then filed away in binders, lingering on shelves and collecting dust.

On the other hand, digital auditing tools provide a more comprehensive and efficient way to assess compliance with brand standards. A digital assessment system like AuditApp by MeazureUp uses mobile devices and cloud-based software to automate the assessment process, making it easier to collect, store, and analyze data. Audit App offers notetaking, comment, photo, and video capability, along with real-time reporting and tracking of results, allowing Krystal’s Above Store Leaders to quickly identify areas that need improvement and implement necessary changes. Digitized assessments provide a more accurate, efficient, and cost-effective way for Krystal to ensure that brand standards are being met at all locations.

According to McKee, Krystal has seen improvements in a number of key metrics since adopting the AuditApp tool, including health department scores, guest satisfaction, deposits, and cash loss. He says, “We can view and advise on visit frequency, items that may show a pattern across our brand, and track improvements with the benefit of graphs and reporting tools. For our Above Store Leaders, this platform is consistent, complete, and can build plans for follow-up to improve with checkpoints for completion on those plans.” Stager concurs, offering a concise evaluation of his company’s experience with its new platform. “MeazureUp has been a solid upgrade to aid us in executing at a high level,” he says.

Let’s talk about how our powerful, easy-to-use automated checklist and field assessment tools can improve operations and boost revenue at your business. Schedule a convenient demo today.