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QSRs Continue to Focus on Digital Initiatives

Arcos Dorados Holdings, Inc., said to be Latin America’s largest restaurant chain and the world’s largest McDonald’s franchisee, recently reported unaudited results for its second quarter of 2017. During the conference call, CEO Sergio Alonso stated that the restaurant group is moving forward with plans to modernize its restaurant base by adding digital capabilities and enhancing its use of technology. This includes the more frequent use of kiosks.

"Nine months ago, we opened our first Experience Of The Future, or if you call it EOTF restaurant pilot in Argentina which features self-order kiosks, digital menu boards and dual point service," he said. "Using the learnings from this exceptional pilot, we expanded to other locations in Argentina and only two weeks ago, opened our first freestanding EOTF restaurant in Brazil. Our plan is to open or reimage additional restaurants with this format over the next several years, reaching approximately 70% of our restaurants in Brazil and Argentina by 2019."

According to Hospitality Technology's 2017 Restaurant Technology Study, kiosks more than tripled in importance to operators between 2016 and 2017. In 2016, only 7% of operators said kiosks were a top research and development area. By 2017 that number rose to 30%. Additionally, 17% of operators said they will be adding kiosks for the first time in 2017.

Jack in the Box also recently released its earnings results for the second quarter of 2017. During a conference call discussing those results, Chairman and CEO Lenny Comma discussed the chain's mobile app.

"[The] mobile app provides lot of functionality, it really helps to expand the convenience factor of the brand," he noted.

He went on to discuss how digital will play a large role in the company's 2018 plans, including an enhancement to the mobile app that will allow for delivery.

Delivery continues to be an important technology consideration for restaurants, especially as third-party delivery options increase. According to the 2017 Restaurant Technology Study, half of tech leaders are paying attention to delivery services integration. In fact, in 2016 only 7% of operators were concerned with delivery services integration but by 2017 that number increased to 36%.

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