Crust Pizza is an Australian franchise business competing in the cut-throat quick service restaurant (QSR) space. I’ve worked with them over the past few years to improve their approach to design and user experience.

My first challenge was to improve the online sales experience. Working with a small design team (myself and my colleague, Chris Yap), we started by analysing available data to understand Crust’s customers. Who were they? How did they order? Did they have any pain points in the current experience? Were there patterns we could utilise?

We quickly found some interesting starting points. Firstly, their customer base was relatively loyal (as far as loyalty works in this sector). They identified with Crust’s upmarket position and healthy-eating approach. Customers wanted to engage with Crust.

Second, we identified ordering patterns that tended to reflect not just obvious buying behaviour (for example, buying pizza for dinner peaks over the weekend), but an individual’s purchases over longer periods. We could see opportunities to better support repeating purchases.

Third, there were obvious flaws in the order flow. We calculated that by improving this Crust could expect 20% more profit each month. We tied our design work to this insight.

Our approach focused on three things: (1) Find a digital voice; (2) Invert the sales flow; and (3) Remember the customer.

Find a digital voice

Branding can be a tricky business. Especially when it comes to adjusting print-based branding to a digital environment. We worked with Crust to arrive at an acceptable approach that leaned on the known Crust branding while also forging into new directions that were better aligned with a digital interface.

More than this, we recognised the effort the Crust team puts into its product photography and how that effort did not translate well at that time online. We made the decision to increase the size of the pizza images as well as the space for photography in general. We wanted to make people hungry as they interacted with the website. We even tested for it!

Invert the sales flow

For the most part, Pizza websites all use the same sales flow:

  1. Customer enters their postcode and other personal details
  2. Customer gets to view the menu
  3. Customer places order, selects/dismisses a number of upsets and enters payment info

It makes a lot of operational sense to have a sales flow structured in this way. Though it doesn’t make as much sense for a customer. We worked on the premise that we wanted customers to get as quickly as possible to the menu, so we changed the flow to be like this:

  1. Customer views the menu
  2. Customer adds items to their order
  3. Customer is prompted to add other details as required, including address and payment

It’s a subtle difference but we felt the barriers of asking questions up front detracted from the experience and the benefit that sales get from browsing the menu. Further, we remember entered details even if they didn’t have an account against a cookie on the computer.

Remember the customer

Building on the idea of remembering entered details, we also improved the ability for customers that log in to reduce their ordering time even further. By remembering their order history, as well as address and payment info, repeat customers could effectively order with a couple of clicks. We found that most customers were very consistent in the orders they made and having a ‘Feed Me!’ button was something that could improve the experience.

As QSRs continue to remain competitive, and digital channels remain critical to success, it is important to recognise simple, effective design detail in strengthening engagement, improving business processes and profitability and the primacy of the customer.

And that uptick in profitability? They were able to start seeing that after two months of the new design.