Catering services firm taps customer satisfaction kiosks to boost customer feedback

| by Elliot Maras
Catering services firm taps customer satisfaction kiosks to boost customer feedback

Employees use the kiosk to indicate their satisfaction level. Photo courtesy of ZeroCater.

ZeroCater, a catering services provider, takes a unique approach to catering that includes customer satisfaction kiosks. The company, launched in 2009, partners with multiple foodservice providers to manage its customers' catering and foodservice needs.

While the company's goal is to provide work sites with the best possible catering and foodservice, it relies on technology to assemble a team of local foodservice providers and creates a menu that best meets the needs of the customer's employees. 

The kiosk comes into play in enabling ZeroCater and its customer to get a fast and thorough sense of employee perception of the food. ZeroCater leases the customer satisfaction terminals from the technology provider, HappyOrNot, and uses the software on a subscription basis.

The kiosk provides data that allows ZeroCater to analyze customer satisfaction levels.

"Everyone struggles to get feedback in surveys," Arvind Stokes, vice president of operations, told Kiosk Marketplace.

Stokes describes ZeroCater as a food technology company rather than a foodservice provider.

A single source solution

"ZeroCater strives to be a single source solution for companies that need anything to do with managed catering and with snacks," said Stokes. "You don't have to worry about any of that planning, thinking or thought process. We'll basically handle everything for you and introduce this culinary variety through all of our food vendors that we work with."

To monitor how successfully its service meets customer needs, ZeroCater recently began using the customer satisfaction kiosk from HappyOrNot. The "Smiley" terminal lets employees rate their satisfaction level and provides reports for employers to assess and monitor the employee feedback.

The customer presses a button on the terminal to indicate their satisfaction level. Dark green equals very happy, light green means happy, pink equals unhappy while red means very unhappy.

People can contribute additional comments on the terminal if they want.

"The simplicity of it screams, 'this will not take a lot of time,' and it attracts people to look at it to the point where they still really are enticed to rate," Stokes said.

In search of customer feedback

ZeroCater realized they needed to know what their customers really thought about their service, and they wanted to be able to put this feedback to use.

The company first introduced the HappyOrNot product to several of its high-volume clients. The easy-to-use Smiley terminal and reporting service allowed ZeroCater to access and monitor customer feedback fast. 

Since early this year, ZeroCater has received more than 100,000 feedbacks via the Smiley terminals and boosted its customer engagement and feedback by 400 percent.

If the customer is not satisfied with the meal, ZeroCater's customer success team determines what corrective action is needed.

"If the customer had a great experience, we still have actions behind that," Stokes said. "We want to know how to replicate that and how to keep that rating as high as possible."

The customer success team then shares the customer feedback with the employer.

More value for client companies

"One of the toughest challenges that our client contact experiences is not knowing how their teams experience meals in general," Stokes said. Companies generally only hear from people who are very passionate one way or the other.

"The contacts want to know how the team holistically is experiencing it," he said. "They can't make changes in meals based on one or five people when you're a thousand-person-plus, 500 company."

"Sometimes the ratings that we get from these kiosks are an indicator of a morale challenge," Stokes said. 

While ZeroCater's account manager shares insights with the customer daily, any communication with the employees is left to the customer contact.

"Those tools and the software not only allow us, but the contact at the client to do deeper dives into the data," Stokes said. The timely information allows ZeroCater to make adjustments as fast as possible.

"We're basically taking lots of engagement data and providing it to the customer," he said. "It gives us a faster indication and trend on how people are experiencing meals."

One company has replaced the Smiley stickers with Super Heroes and Villains. 

"We saw the results skyrocket as a result of that," Stokes said.

Another client used images of famous chefs.

"It was just great to see how people can use the kiosk to build the culture," he said.

ZeroCater has used the terminals in its own facility — and not just for getting feedback on the food. The company has used the terminals to get feedback on job satisfaction, a purpose they have not used it for on behalf of their clients. The company plans to stay focused on foodservice.

A novel use 

ZeroCater is one of the first companies to apply the Smiley terminals in a foodservice environment, according to Sofia Sapojnikova, HappyOrNot sales and marketing communications manager. The terminals are most prevalent in the retail and transportation industries. 

Based on the ZeroCater's success with the kiosks to date, Sapojnikova thinks the technology holds a lot of promise for foodservice.

Photos courtesy of ZeroCater.

Topics: Customer Experience, Software, Survey Kiosks

Elliot Maras
Elliot Maras is the editor of and

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