In this highly competitive market space, if you are not on top of the quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry trends and adapting to accommodate customer preferences and behavior, then you are behind the times. To keep up in this increasingly competitive market, you can’t depend on traditional tactics. You need to turn challenges into opportunities and cater to the evolving needs of the increasingly connected customer.
Tear Down the Divisions between Online and Physical Locations
QSRs need to unify their brands and create an omnichannel strategy. Consumers take their smartphones with them everywhere and increasingly rely on them to help with their purchasing decisions – whether to find coupons or compare menu items. Forty-two percent of consumers say that the ability to order online would influence their choice of restaurant.
By removing the divisions between online and physical locations, QSRs can provide consumers with a seamless experience. And when both channels are connected, you have access to data and analytics required for consumer insights, better targeting, and personalization across all consumer touchpoints.
Make Ordering and Checking Out Faster and Easier
A main complaint of diners is long lines to order and long lines to check out. Dependable, fast, self-service kiosks are proving invaluable to larger fast-food chains such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s. These solutions make ordering and paying fast and easy. This QSR industry trend is expected to keep growing in the coming years.
Keep Up with New Payment Methods
New payment methods, such as mobile payment applications will continue to emerge. Apple Pay has reported more than one million new users each week. And popular cloud-based wallets such as Alipay and WeChat Pay are changing the game. User adoption of these new payment methods will continue to grow, and QSR restaurants need to stay nimble and adapt to these new technologies.
The Next Generation of Food Delivery
With the eat-in trend growing, food delivery is also booming. Third-party food delivery companies are filling the void. With top players such as GrubHub and Uber Eats competing with start-up companies, this space is crowded, and companies are scrambling to stand out. Subscription models that get rid of delivery fees per stop in favor of a flat-rate subscription are emerging to win the “last mile” with consumers. They may be the next motivation to provide a true competitive edge.
Tech Improving Customer Experience
From app-based checkout to drone delivery, technology is reimagining convenience and positioning frictionless food service at the core of the business. The introduction of Amazon Go – the next-generation in grab-and-go – to new markets was a true game changer.
But will the future really be frictionless? Will there be no person-to-person interaction in the restaurant experience? Will brands suffer in a QSR industry where staff no longer communicates its identity? Brands committed to tech-enabled convenience and keeping the personal touch will need to strike a balance between the two.
Automation Reaches the QSR Industry
While robotics and food preparation seems like a new concept, it has been going on behind the scenes for decades. The food automation tech in restaurants is an adaptation of what has been used in Consumer-Packaged Goods (CPG) manufacturing. A robotic food prep future resolves food safety issues such as employees improperly storing and holding food or forgetting to wash their hands. And by eliminating the possibility of human error, product consistency is ensured.
The next year will continue to expose the power of disruption. In an era focused on customer experience and consumer hyperchoice, QSRs will have to do even more to stand out and seamlessly combine food quality, exceptional service, and the latest technology.