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11/23/2022

Jack in the Box Continues Digital Investments

In 2023 the QSR plans restaurant-level tech investments including a new POS. 
Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor - Restaurants
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Jack in the Box app
Jack in the Box plans to add a new POS in 2023. The QSR revealed its new mobile app and website last month.

Jack in the Box Inc.’s digital investments for 2023 include a new point-of-sale system.

In its Q4 2022 earnings call with analysts, the QSR, also known for its Del Taco brand, shared its accomplishments and challenges for the fiscal year ended October 2 and the year ahead.

Restaurant-Level Tech Investments

Last month, Jack in the Box  revealed an overhaul of its online ordering and mobile app with an integrated loyalty program. (Jack in the Box also debuted a new off-prem prototype in Tulsa, Oklahoma.) 

“We have made tremendous progress evolving into a more innovative and relevant digital-focused business. We are now a formidable competitor within the digital landscape with enhanced data-capturing capabilities, be our growing loyalty platform and our newly updated e-commerce app and new mobile website. These new capabilities will bring a more personalized, seamless experience to guests, while improving upsell and targeted offers,” said CEO Darrin Harris during the November 22 earnings call with analysts.

To continue that momentum, Jack in the Box will make additional tech investments in the year ahead, most notably at the store level. “…The guest experience opportunities goes beyond just e-commerce, and we are committed to making restaurant-level tech investments for 2023, including a new point-of-sale system.

Integrations with other systems are driving POS purchase decisions for 71% of restaurants, according to HT's 2023 POS Software Trends Report.  

These investments will be the foundation to modernize Jack in the Box for years to come, Harris said, adding that the “POS is the heart of any technology investment, enabling us to set the stage for future applications, software and tools like digital menu boards, AI and personalized in-store ordering. All of this supports enhanced operational capabilities, such as automation, to drive a more consistent guest experience and higher store-level margins.

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Improving Operations

When it comes to operations, “2022 was a big year of progress,” said Harris. “…All metrics related to training, alerts, speed of service are trending in the right direction and directly supporting a better guest experience and topline performance.”

During the past two years the company has implemented a new training system along with a guest experience review, “which drive standards,” Harris said. “What’s happening is … metrics are all improving substantially.” Training is up, turnover is down and speed of service has improved.

Inflation Hurts

All operators are feeling the pain of 40-year high inflation, which is impacting margins continuing into 2023, explained Harris.  “We just can’t take enough price to cover all of it. So we have to execute in different ways and improve, and do things across the menu to try to improve those margins,” he said. 

Harris reiterated that the company is making  “a clear investment in technology for future growth and efficiency… whether it be POS, whether it be enterprise, whether it be digital technology to drive topline, those things will pay off in future years."

Rebranding On the Horizon

To date, a handful of locations have been rebranded and 366 locations are on the waiting list for their makeover, which may take five years or so, Harris explained.  “We have definitely seen a traffic-led sales bump when we have done reimage," he said.

"The guest experience opportunities goes beyond just e-commerce and we are committed to making restaurant level tech investments for 2023, including a new point-of-sale system.”
Darrin Harris, CEO

Financial Results

Jack in the Box’s system-wide sales, when excluding the 53rd week in prior year, increased 4.1%. Quarterly same-store sales growth was 4%, consisting of positive company-owned comps of 11.4% and franchise comps of 3.2%.

“…Price increases of 10.4% in the quarter and just over 8% for the full year certainly played a role in our comp performance,” explained CFO Tim Mullany during the November 22 call with analysts.

Frequency and loyalty amongst the Jack in the Box’s fans continue to boost the bottom line. “We also saw transaction frequency increase sequentially during Q4, a positive sign that we are earning increased loyalty and trial within our customer base. And we were able to hold on to our value consumers with transactions under $7 remaining flat versus Q3 even as pricing increased,” said Mullany.

Del Taco’s system-wide sales were up 4.2%, Dine-in, delivery, mobile and carryout continue to grow this quarter, contributing to topline sales.

Del Taco restaurant level margin was 15.9%, said Mullany.  A full Q4 2022 earnings statement is available on the Jack in the Box investors site