How to scale your business using Yandex Surveys: the experience of an Israeli restaurant

Two years ago, we opened the Middle Eastern street food restaurant “Kiosk№11” in Moscow. By 2022, our falafel with tahini has found regular customers, the average receipt has increased, and we started thinking about further promoting Israeli cuisine in Russia's capital city where restaurant competition is strong. We wanted to find a simple and easy-to-use tool to analyze our potential audience so we could learn more about their preferences. My name is Andrey Kruglov, and I'm the founder and owner of “Kiosk№11”. Here, I'm going to tell you why we chose Yandex Surveys for our research and what results it helped us achieve.

Why we chose the survey format and how we received customer feedback before

Israeli cuisine is a unique blend of Eastern flavors and classical European traditions. It's a meeting place for the tastes of immigrants from all over the world. Here, you can try kosher food and dishes that words fail to describe. As a business owner, you want to talk about the brand to your potential customers whose needs you know and can meet.

When testing out our restaurant's concept, choosing a location, and preparing for the launch, we were guided by our own experience in the restaurant business and our understanding of Israeli cuisine. We even went to Israel for some inspiration. After that, our next task was to find out the preferences of our regular customers as well as people who weren't familiar with Israeli cuisine yet. We didn't want to delve deep into complex analytics, but it was strategically important for us to gather fresh data that would help us develop the restaurant. We decided to ask our potential audience what could be our brand's growth points.

Three-step survey on Yandex Surveys

We needed a quick and simple tool to collect information from a cross-section of the target audience. We completed the task in three steps:

  • Come up with survey questions.
  • Set up audience targeting.
  • Launch the survey.

The fourth and most pleasant step was to get the survey results. Before you ask: it took us one day to collect the data.

Trying to collect every single person's opinion is not a feasible solution. Yandex Surveys offers various targeting options: by gender, age, geography, and interests. The respondent base is the audience of the Yandex Advertising Network. Users can take the survey when they “surf” the internet and see the ad on a website. The survey is shown to the target audience, depending on the filters you selected. This is the option we used. But you can also conduct a survey among your own customer base. In this case, you can send them the survey link by email, embed it on your site, or post it on social media. We went for the first option because we wanted to hear from our potential audience.

Asking a client whether they liked our food is an easy task. Surveying a large number of people who don't know our restaurant is much more difficult. Fortunately, we didn't have to hire someone to do that for us. Instead, we had a bunch of options on Yandex Surveys: we could create our own survey with a whole system of questionnaires for different tasks, use the constructor, or ask the Yandex team to conduct the survey. We managed on our own.

Finally, the cost issue. On Yandex Surveys, the minimum price of a simple survey is 1500 rubles for 100 completed questionnaires. In total, we received 1700 completed questionnaires, and the entire survey with pinpoint targeting cost us 51,000 rubles.

Set up the survey in 15 minutes — how it works

It takes a few clicks to start the survey. Create a new survey and select the task that it's going to help you solve. There are several options from competitor analysis and slogan rating to name and concept testing. And if you choose “Launch a survey for me”, the Yandex team will help you create the survey in the constructor. We decided to create the survey by ourselves. The setup took 15 minutes. During this time, we selected the survey task, identified the target audience, specified the sample size, and divided the survey into several surveys for different target groups. Every survey is moderated, so it took about two more hours to get our surveys checked. Moderation usually takes no more than two business days.

The interface is intuitive: all the steps are consistent, there are survey drafts available, you can return to the surveys that are currently on pause or in moderation, and you can view your active and completed surveys. We didn't want to bombard users with too many questions or manipulate their emotions. That's why we prepared 8 questions with many response options to choose from. Here is an example of one of the slides:

1700 people took part in the survey. By the way, we only had to pay for the forms where users answered all of the required questions. The results were collected in real time. The first results appeared in the personal account immediately after the survey was launched. The wider the audience and the smaller the sample size, the faster the survey will be completed. According to the Help page, it usually takes one to five days after moderation.

The report on the survey results contains information about the questionnaires started, the users surveyed, the total conversion from the first to the last question, and the average time needed to fill out the questionnaire. The report can be saved in Excel format. For example, here are the statistics on the audience of women aged 25–34:

The report below shows the questions and answers in absolute values and as a percentage. For example, this is how people responded to the question about their attitude to Israeli cuisine:

The completed questionnaires are available in your personal account, and the statistics are displayed in chart format, which is convenient to use for further analysis.

Survey results: a new restaurant, menu revision, and confirmed hypotheses

I'd go as far as to say that a simple eight-question survey became a full research project. In a nutshell:

  • The survey helped us customize our menu for different food courts. For example, the survey has shown that the audience of the Usachevsky market is sophisticated in terms of their knowledge of Israeli cuisine. They're familiar with the foods and have been to Israel more than once. So for this audience segment, we added more Israeli specialties and snacks, like chraime and baba ganoush.
  • We introduced some “hallmark” Israeli dishes and identified our target audience's favorites.
  • Our hypotheses about the city food courts were confirmed: we discovered which food courts are the most popular. We already had restaurants in two of the most popular malls, and a new restaurant was opened in the Usachevsky market. It's already a popular place, and people are lining up to try our food. The survey results have also prompted us to start negotiating the launch of another restaurant. We singled out certain dishes based on the respondents' preferences. For example, we made meze our main attraction, and we placed a big bet on hummus.

The respondents' desire to try Israeli cuisine in food markets inspired us to open a restaurant in one such location. The survey has shown that hummus is very popular, so we made it one of the key items on the menu. We also added meze to the menu since the respondents were most interested in this food. And, of course, we improved our work with reviews because, according to the survey results, positive reactions help to attract new customers.

The research has demonstrated that people in Moscow feel quite positive about Israeli cuisine. However, some of them are still undecided, so these people will be the audience that new Israeli cuisine projects will likely compete for. We also discovered that the audience is highly segmented by income, menu expectations, and preferred dish options (spicy/not spicy). It's also worth noting that people don't have a concept of an ‘ideal Israeli restaurant’. That's why a successful project should offer different formats (inexpensive and high-end) for the two audience types depending on the restaurant's location (specific food mall). Based on this differentiation, you have to customize the menu for every location and add the option of buying ingredients for home cooking.

Leonid Andreyev, Strategy Director at RCG.

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