A few months back, I took an exercise that involved visiting four different food outlets and spending an hour in each one of them and observing the profile of customers. I was in Gurgaon and decided to visit, McDonald, KFC, Nirula’s and Pizza Hut. Apart from noticing the profile of customers, I noticed a particular thing: McDonald was the only food outlet among these four that didn’t/don’t offer credit card payment. (!) Why so? I will give my viewpoints and leave the rest to you to analyze and comment upon. I am sure being an entrepreneur, or interested in entrepreneurship, you would like to read, comment or solve this mystery as to why one food outlet does not offer a unique payment option.
I started with McDonald food outlet in the MGF Metropolitan Mall. I was accompanied by my friend Sukhchain Singh, who patiently sat with me chatting, reading his ever-unfinished book and sometimes providing some insights as to what elements I should notice while picking the profile of the customers.
The time was around 8:00 PM when we started. This actually eliminated the presence of professionals and executives or management people coming directly to take food in their formals. Most of the customers had casual, fashion-wear or Indian dresses. In all the four food outlets, the time was of post-evening.
The menu of McDonald varies from French Fries to Ice Cream with various types of burgers with cold drinks: More often than not, it happens to be Coca Cola.
Now the profile of the customers in McDonald revolved around small families and youngsters who flock the malls to kill the time or for shopping. Majority of them were in groups, though it could comprise two people only. However, we also noticed some singular customers enjoying their food in their own world!
The main difference between the buying habits of customers at McDonald from other food outlets was that there were many who wanted the food to be packed for take-away. This is where we noticed that McDonald received more footfall than any other food outlet under observation. There are 3-4 billing machines where you can see queues formed quickly.
This is where the curious observation came forth. We noticed that having a credit card machine, swapping it, getting the slip signed by a customer and then delivering the package or food in tray could waste a lot of time. Is this the particular reason why McDonald does not offer credit card payment facility? I am not sure but will be more than happy to know if you know the reason.
This can also be observed in other similar outlets when you reach the top floor of any mall: Sub-Way being the famous one amongst them. They need a fast-paced operation and therefore avoid credit card payments. On the flip side, CCD offers credit card payment facility because the operation is not that much fast. Should this be the only reason that McDonald does not offer credit card payment facility? I am very curious to know.
In contrast to this and having a similar profile of food items though majorly focusing on chicken menu, KFC had slightly better option. We chose KFC outlet in JMD Regant Mall, Gurgaon to observe the profile of customers. The customer profile was somewhat similar in KFC with more concentration of families than youngsters or individuals.
KFC also has 3-4 billing machines but in one of them, they do offer credit card payment facility in case some customers want to use it. We noticed that the queues also formed quickly in KFC but the frequency is somewhat on lower side as compared to McDonald. This seems to be because there were not many options for vegetarian items that could be picked. Agreed, KFC focuses more on chicken menu. Moreover, it does not offer any hot beverage like McDonald does.
So, can McDonald also do this: Offering credit card payment facility at one of the machine? I am sure they will be willing to do it but due to onrush of customers, they are avoiding it.
Moving to Pizza Hut in Ambience Mall, Gurgaon, we had a great time. However, the customer profile was very different as compared to other food outlets because it appeared more hushed and calm, though there was a group of youngsters and some foreigners who were having great time hooting and making noise.
Pizza Hut offered a professional-restaurant type environment where you sit, place the order, and then eat your stuff. The customer profile was of course different as youngsters were less and there was hardly anyone single.
We can’t directly compare the menu of Pizza Hut with McDonald or KFC because their menu items differ greatly. However, Pizza Hut does have credit card payment facility.
Moving to Nirula’s, I went alone to observe the customer profile. Very sadly, I chose a place nearby a petrol pump in sector 15 where customers were scant. However, I could observe that there were many customers who wanted food to be packed as take-away. The menu items were more kind of restaurant unlike other eateries like McDonald or KFC.
Nirula’s also have credit card payment facility with wide range of menu ranging from ice-creams, cold drinks, hot beverages and various types of fried items.
Overall, I can group McDonald and KFC together while Pizza Hut can be grouped with Nirula’s for comparison. There was no stark difference in anything apart from our first question. Why McDonald does not offer credit card payment facility?
Do you have any answer? Have you seen any other McDonald outlet where they do take credit card payments? Do you have any insights into this? Shoot your comments.
- What should be the payment options if you want to enter into food outlet business?
- Can you make it possible to have credit card payment facility in a fast operated food outlet?
- Being an entrepreneur, do you prefer credit card payments at all?