Five Tech Trends Impacting QSRs in 2020
Comcast Business shared the top trends impacting the quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry, based on the company’s deep experience working with leading QSR and franchise establishments.
As online ordering and mobile delivery apps continue to gain popularity and diners increasingly expect technology-forward experiences, QSRs are challenged with finding new ways to quickly fulfill orders and keep customers – and their taste buds – satisfied. Comcast Business is working directly with some of the biggest brands in the food and beverage industry, helping to drive the following trends aimed at giving them a competitive edge:
- “May I take your order?” is becoming “How may I take your order?” – The reason customers choose QSRs is in the name, they are quick. Offering multiple ways to order – from kiosks to loyalty apps to tablets – is essential to minimizing customers’ wait times. When lines do back up, innovative brands are implementing “line busting” tactics, such as having staff walk car-to-car in long drive-thru lines, ringing up customer orders on tablets or mobile registers so orders are ready and waiting by the time a guest reaches the pick-up window.
- Mobile apps are cooking up physical and digital upgrades – Traditionally, restaurants have only had to keep pace with orders coming from two locations: the walk-up counter and the drive-thru. However, by 2021, nearly 50 million people will be using food delivery apps. From a restaurant’s own app or website, to third party food delivery services, QSRs are now having to account for orders within and beyond their four walls. From an IT perspective, having a guest WiFi network is now crucial in supporting in store mobile ordering and mobile payments. To avoid long lines and confusions, restaurants must also think about restructuring their physical layout to accommodate the growing number of mobile orders.
- Increased focus on privacy and security policies – When the security of one restaurant location is compromised, it can put an entire brand at risk. QSRs are utilizing firewalls, LAN and WAN networks to help control security from a corporate level and maintain their brand. Having the comfort that comes from security measures also allows restaurants to focus more on ways to innovate.
- Digital signage keeps restaurant menus from going stale – Whether it’s by season, or time of day, menu options are constantly expanding and changing. With initiatives like limited time menu offerings (LTOs) becoming an increasingly popular strategy within QSRs, more and more restaurants are opting for digital signage as a way to stay on top of these type of menu turnovers and updates. Digital menu boards give QSRs the ability to update information to all locations at once, making sure both staff and customers stay up to date on the latest offers and promotions.
- Technology adds extra spice in recruiting and retaining employees – A restaurant’s staff plays a huge role in customer experience. Often times, a happy employee equates to happy guests. Being able to offer employees advanced technology gives a restaurant a competitive edge and helps recruit top talent at a local and corporate level. LTOs also add another layer of complexity to staff training. Having reliable technology that allows both internal and external information to be shared – and rolled out – on a national level is imperative to making sure staff can be quickly and effectively trained on a brand’s latest offerings or special promotions.