The world now a global village! Thanks to technology we have reduced the miles and brought people together in the metro cities. The fast pace of life, with ever-changing demands, no doubt we are called the millennial. Food being an integral part of our daily routine, servicing this millennial crowd has resulted in the quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry establishing itself as a major factor in the past few years. Let’s have a quick look on a few stats-
- The United States is unquestionably the initiator of modern-day quick-service chain restaurants.
- In the US, the QSR industry is estimated to have a 273 billion dollar market in the year 2019.
- The QSR industry is expected to grow with a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 8.5% during 2019-2025
- Research has established that the US is leading in quick-service restaurants compared to others with around 0.6 million plus restaurants
- More than 50 million Americans eat in one of these restaurants every single day!
Wow! that’s a number. With all these great numbers, the QSR industry is facing diverse challenges in establishing itself as a brand to be continually profitable; at the same time maintaining a competitive edge in the industry.
Of course, it’s the digital age!
With ever-growing digital usage, these quick-service restaurants expect at least 50% of guest orders coming from digital channels. Let us take a closer look at the top 5 challenges faced by the QSR industry:
1. Customers & their changing preferences
The current multicultural millennial expectations are high. The QSR industry has expanded wide enough to have choices based on diet, nutrition, food allergies which have become a part of the decision making process.
The millennial customer is way ahead of consumers two decades ago due to their awareness and also the multiple choices they have today. It is not always about grabbing a bite to satisfy hunger but to sometimes to also make a wise choice with nutrition value. It has been found that awareness has increased to quite an extent in the last two years according to operators in restaurants. The standards are set high for these operators to know the details thoroughly to answer to the constant queries and also to balance the tastes and trends at the same time.
2. Need for a multi-channel approach for sales
To be digital is the need of the hour today in the global QSR Industry. The industry is testing and trying options of various e-commerce models for ordering, speed, and efficiency. These trials are also ongoing for delivery options to be relevant to the ever-changing customer base. Digitization is a necessity to be competitive in the market and not just a new concept of expansion option. The need for the QSR operators is to find the right technology which works and connects to the customer base. The QSR industry is not shying away from technology anymore. They are embracing AI-based options available along with supply-chain & automation of logistics along with the reduction in delivery costs to the customers. Analytics is also playing a major role. Summing up the data of the total number of orders in a week or a month for a particular recipe will give you the insight to plan ahead. The data on the frequency of orders by a particular customer in a month will give you an idea of customer loyalty. Analytics in graphs will give a peek to costs sustained based on a daily/weekly/monthly basis aiding you to arrive at your profit margin.
3. Mobile, the game-changer in the QSR industry
Smartphones have changed the scenery of buying online completely. Online orders and home delivery processes have undoubtedly hit hard the regulars and walk-ins of the restaurants. But the good news is research conducted by the National Research Association has concluded that the customers placing orders online also visit the restaurant more frequently than others. The probability of revisit for these savvy guests is found to be around 67%.
Using Analytics to your advantage, you can get the data right to know your customers’ loyalty trends. The mobile orders have grown so popular that 46% of the users order online at least once a month. There is a growing need for the QSR Industry to provide a seamless experience in your mobile apps. This is where Workpulse delivers, one portal to gather and filter all operational data.
4. Are you social yet? Are building brand & managing social media presence on your to-do list?
The increase in social media usage and peer to peer dependence has created a huge space for digital interaction. Customers today have one-click access to any query, may it be the “best restaurant around me” or reviews, ratings, menus, along with the pictures of the dishes. A customer review is of high-value today. The online reviews have gained momentum such that ordering online or booking a table at a restaurant is done after checking the customer reviews in Google, Urban Spoon or Yelp.
The reviews of a particular location can help the customer decide whether to visit your restaurant. It has been found that online reviews can propel your business further compared to advertisements on TV or radio. The research has shown that eight of every ten customers trust online reviews. The research has also proven that a raise in the star rating of the restaurant has resulted in a 5% to 9% increase in its earnings. So, rating from customer count. Guests are giving you free feedback. Are you using this valuable data?
5. Enhance / upgrade customer service with interaction & driving guest loyalty.
It is of dominant importance to maintain mindshare by noting and recording the tailored experiences of your customers from the moment he walks into the restaurant or calls to place an order. The restaurant’s job is to hopefully understand the customer’s needs better than others.
Leveraging technology, you can create a better customer experience and brand loyalty. Today’s customer is not only health conscious but also well aware of the ingredients that go in a dish. The information about the dishes needs to be clear and easy to understand when they are looking up on the website or in mobile apps. It is a well-known fact that the attention of the customer is less than 10 seconds. If they do not find what they are looking for then they will switch to another available place. This clear and concise information is what customers look for before placing the order. The orders once placed need to be delivered fast, friendly and correctly. This personalization of customer service will create a loyal customer base.
The QSR industry is growing exponentially and increasing competition with every passing day. The challenges are several to the QSR owner and operator. The operator needs to strike a balance in maintaining customer relations, delivering value-added services, along with the timely delivery of a quality product. Today’s QSR industry is gearing up with the Next Gen technologies such as AI and Analytics, while engaging with customers multi-channels to create a brand name and expand the business.
Challenges have always been an integral part of making any business thrive. Maintaining and improving margins in this challenging environment needs technology and support. Workpulse is designed to take up the operational challenges with its suite of applications. Their suite of apps will give you data based on analytics to help keep track of your customer preferences and improve operations. Analytics gives you insights into the frequency of orders, popular items, and helps you to be prepared. Equipped with the knowledge of customer likes and dislikes you can serve them better. At last, ‘Happy Customer’ can build your customer base with just a click of a button giving you a star.