The quick service industry is oversaturated, and quick service restaurants (QSRs) are always looking for new ways to stand out. Ask any industry giant and they’ll tell you the best way to compete and increase market share is to make your customers happy. And today’s customers crave digital experiences.
Here are some of the technological innovations quick service restaurants should explore before their next restaurant IT deployment.
Due to the COVID-19 and changing consumer preferences, today’s restaurant patrons want to enjoy their dining experience with minimal contact with others.
Many retailers and restaurants have already begun offering contactless payment methods, like Apple Pay or Samsung Pay to make customers feel more at ease. But did you know there were other touchless technologies you could be implementing, too?
Many customers don’t want to share the ketchup bottle or other condiments with their fellow diners, especially if they don’t know how well it’s been sanitized. Instead, there are touchless condiment dispensers that allow a person to hold their hand above the sensor to dispense. This avoids the wasteful option of single-use packets while still keeping the dining room sanitary.
Offering touchless appliances in restaurant bathrooms is also a good idea. Many patrons prefer touchless hand washing options, as well as the presence of automatic-dispensing hand sanitizer around the restaurant.
Loyalty Programs & Mobile Ordering
One way to create a raving fan base of repeat customers is by creating and rolling out a strong loyalty program. Even if a restaurant offers small discounts after a customer earns a certain number of points, it’s still something to keep that customer coming back. In fact, it might be enough to make them choose one restaurant over another for a similar product.
Along with loyalty programs, being able to order and pay from a mobile device before they even reach the restaurant is very appealing to consumers. They’re able to plan their order in advance, and they know it will be ready when they arrive and are ready for it. Younger generations also prefer the option to order via an app or website, rather than needing to call the restaurant on the phone.
One QSR that’s having success with both loyalty programs and mobile ordering is Starbucks. The coffee chain has had both options in place for years, and they’re ahead of the curve in many ways. For restaurants that are looking to implement either or both of these restaurant IT innovations, watching Starbucks is a great idea.
Rather than just watching big chains like Starbucks and trying to emulate their innovative ideas, also remember to evaluate the data from your own restaurant. Monitor customer behaviors and spending habits. See what parts of the customer experience you can make better with the addition of new technology. Gather data from what items your customers purchase the most, as well as items that don’t go over so well. Run beta tests with new purchasing options, like touchless payments, kiosk ordering, or even mobile app ordering.
Improve Staff Experiences
Customers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from new technology. Give your staff something to enjoy too, like digital training modules and real-time data updates. Technology like QR codes give quick-service restaurants the chance to deliver more information to their staff, since they can read it on their own devices. Staff can also use these codes to view their schedules, trade shifts, and generally feel in control of their own experience.
Whether you’re implementing new technology on behalf of your customers or your team, remember that there are a variety of ways restaurant IT is growing and adapting. Stay innovative and you’ll be able to improve your customer experience and increase market share quickly.