Dairy Queen’s Nicolas Boudet on How to Create Timeless, Consistent Customer Experiences


On today’s episode of The QSR Experience Show, Bobby speaks with Nicolas Boudet, Chief Operating Officer at Dairy Queen, a chain of soft serve ice cream and fast food restaurants. They discuss what has made Dairy Queen so successful over its 80 years of operation, and how DQ creates consistent experiences across their 7000 locations worldwide through extensive training and customer feedback. They also talk about current trends shaping the restaurant industry, what emerging technology will impact efficiency and costs, and where the “bright future” of the restaurant industry is headed.


Topics discussed:


  • The evolution of Nicholas’ career, and how being exposed to a number of different cultures growing up inspired “curiosity and an appetite to learn,” which helps inform his oversight of Dairy Queen’s international locations.

  • The factors that contribute to Dairy Queen’s success over the past 80 years, including how the experience is timeless and woven into people’s lives.

  • How Dairy Queen creates consistent experiences across its 7000 locations worldwide by measuring the customer experience, continuous training, and spot checks.

  • How Dairy Queen is thinking about localized store design and menus while maintaining branded and consistent experiences.

  • What trends are shaping the world of QSR, including the rise of third-party delivery, technological integrations, and data analytics.

  • What emerging technologies will impact the restaurant industry and how they will increase efficiency and reduce labor costs.

  • What trends will shape the future of the restaurant industry, and why QSRs will continue to focus on creating experiences based on customer needs.

Guest Quotes: 

“It’s a brand that is woven into the fabric of the consumers’ lives in what I call ‘everyday moments.’ It’s a brand that also makes those moments, in my view, very special. And when they do make those moments special, they really, truly amplify the joy in the everyday that we create. And by the way, this is our brand purpose. So our consumers have, at the end of the day, a relationship that transcends our great product that we’ve cultivated, and we continue to cultivate this connection over all these years. And I believe that what makes our brand successful, but also timeless.” (8:29–9:02)

“Consistency of the execution is something that we do pay a lot of attention to, especially across different markets, but also cultures, but also franchisees in terms of operator capabilities. … But it all starts with having great franchise partners, solid processes, and above all, keeping things simple.” (10:14)

“We’re embracing technology wholeheartedly to meet the whenever, wherever, how-I-want-it expectation of our consumers. That includes paying attention to self-ordering kiosks, mobile ordering, payment apps, delivery platform, and digital loyalty program.” (16:09)

“The ability to deploy AI to complement customer service could be a real unlock from a productivity standpoint, but also meeting the rising cost of labor and the challenges of recruiting people. So I think that could be really helpful.” (19:01)

“Being very diligent in making sure that you do have a consistent way of addressing your consumer needs and making sure that they feel and receive a branded experience irrespective of their channels to me is absolutely necessary. And this is where technology can help.” (20:39)