Case Study

Flash Qual – Understanding the Fast Food Diner Quickly and Comprehensively


How do you glean in-depth results on a tight timeline without sacrificing depth of information?

A top beverage company was looking for insights into the personal lives and needs of diners at a specific quick service restaurant (QSR) chain where their beverage products are sold. They wanted to better understand what consumers look for in dine-in and take-out experiences.

C+R set out to understand the key diner’s needs and desires, and ultimately delivered—in under a week—a video reel for the beverage company to share at an upcoming workshop.


Wanted: In-Depth Results in Less Than One Week

A major beverage company asked C+R for help “bringing to life” diners of a QSR chain where their products are sold. The company was interested in understanding diners on a personal level, including what they look for both when dining-in and when ordering meals to-go from the QSR. Additionally, the client wanted to engage with diners first-hand to increase empathy and better understand their needs. 

And of course, the company needed results quickly – in time for an upcoming workshop with their QSR partner (scheduled one week from request).


A Quick-Turn Video Ethnography “Brings Diners to Life”

To gather in-depth information quickly, C+R used an online qualitative discussion board to host a quick-turn video ethnography project. Typically, an online discussion occurs over several days and includes numerous questions and projective activities. However, due to time limitations, C+R utilized the online discussion board as a host platform for the diners to answer questions via video uploads. 

Over the course of several days, participants uploaded short videos answering questions related to the client’s specific areas of interest, including questions about participants’ homes, what they value, and—most importantly—how they interact with fast food restaurants broadly, and our client’s QSR partner specifically. 

After all participants had posted self-recorded videos, a subgroup was invited to participate in live webcam focus groups. Participants were selected based on how well they answered the initial questions (we chose only ‘star’ respondents) and diner type (frequent, occasional, and new). Rather than having C+R moderate, the client team chose to lead focus groups, allowing them to dig deeper into areas of interest from the discussion board and create relationships with their diners.

The result

Hearing Directly From Consumers

Given the quick turn-around and a desire to capture the diners on a personal level, C+R’s multimedia team created a 15-minute video sizzle reel. This sizzle reel showed diners in their natural environments and featured five sections – each comprised of video submissions from diners who answered five discussion topics.

The video allowed the client and their QSR partner to hear directly from diners regarding how they feel about the restaurant, their dining experiences there, and their suggestions to increase diner engagement.

The research ultimately led to insights into how our client and their QSR partner could improve the fast food restaurant experience. The team learned that diners place a high importance on quality, convenience, and friendly staff. Suggestions to further optimize the restaurant revolved around discount deals and providing a fun, family environment for consumers.

Ultimately, our client walked away with firsthand insights and an engaging video reel to start a dialogue with their QSR partner, as well as actionable optimizations to better address the lives and needs of their consumers. 

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