Digital transformation is on fire in the QSR market. And, while we don’t want to harp on the obvious, everyone knows the pandemic fast-tracked certain trends.
According to QSR Magazine, “The lockdown exacerbated convenience; it didn’t surface it…A lot of guests that put stock in convenience, such as apps and contactless ordering and pickup, might never fully go back.”
Industry experts point to a silver lining. Preparation helped many QSR brands thrive despite unprecedented challenges. Those that invested in the right infrastructure were able to pivot and provide the experiences their customers desire.
What’s the secret to their success? Let’s explore three essential ways to compete digitally in QSR.
Redefine Menu Management
The guest experience is crucial to restaurant success – and that experience typically starts with the menu. After all, your customers are there to eat (or drink) – so, it’s critical to make the menu count and provide a seamless user experience.
Here are some tactics QSRs use to stay on top of menu management:
The more personalization you offer, the more a customer will gravitate to your brand. Take the world’s leading coffeehouse, for example. They revolutionized the market by allowing extreme customization. Enthusiasts have built a whole culture around the ‘Grande, Quad, Nonfat, One-Pump, No-Whip, Mocha’ drink order (or something equally as complex).
Per Datassential, “one in three diners said it was most important to have a mix of different price tiers and the ability to customize, even with limited menus.” So, allow your customers to personalize their order – and, when they select specific choices, make sure you get it right.
Seasonal and Regional Offerings:
Menu management is like fashion – high turnover keeps patrons coming back. To compete, Quick Service Restaurants must stay strong in their core items and mix in choices per the region and season. Customer sentiments also play a role. For example, during quarantines, QSRs found that customers preferred comfort food. Now, these same customers have refocused on healthier choices. Your area demographics should also steer what you sell and how you set prices. Find ways to poll your customers, make agile adjustments based on their feedback, and keep guests coming back for more.
Menu labeling mandates deserve an honorable mention. As a reminder, the FDA passed a law requiring restaurant chains to disclose calorie counts on menus, along with additional information upon request.
As a result, customers have come to expect greater menu, ingredient, and nutrition transparency. The good news: When a restaurant helps guests make healthy choices, they’re more likely to stay loyal. That benefit, along with the risk of non-compliance, makes transparent product data a QSR priority.
Offer Convenient Digital Options
Menu management is QSR table stakes, but in this era, so is digital interaction.
Today’s successful QSR competitors offer streamlined, easy-to-use, and predictable mobile apps. Online ordering also plays a role, but curbside pick-up and off-premise delivery are where the trend is taking flight. Statistics show that food delivery app usage will reach nearly 60 million by 2023, with $24 billion in revenue projected that year.
One QSR CEO, Michael Onsanloo, recently made this observation:
“Even before [the pandemic], one undeniable trend for fast casuals and quick-service restaurants has been that people want to eat on their own terms…What we’re seeing is that if restaurant companies want to be successful, they have to commit to dealing with how to provide off-premise dining in unique ways.”
Here’s the challenge – as soon as you start fragmenting customer experiences, you risk losing control over how a customer feels. The best apps not only offer an easy, personalized ordering experience, they also help the customer understand what to expect before they even walk in the door (or pull up to the curb).
Stay Agile with Stores & Assortments
The third strategy is all about staying agile with store openings and product assortment.
This tactic is a bit exploratory and goes into making strategic decisions based on store performance, regionality, customer preferences, supply chain logistics, and more. Analyzing this information holistically helps brands make better decisions about where to open a store, when to close a store, what types of accessories to sell, how to establish pricing and more.
When QSRs get stores and assortments right, they can increase revenue, improve operations, and find new ways to “wow” their customers.
Be Ready with the Right Steps
QSR brands that used to be behemoths are getting left behind because they were not prepared to pivot. To compete, the best thing you can do is be ready.
First, set up the essential foundation of data management.
Product Information Management (PIM) is an obvious choice because it helps QSRs manage and enrich data around ingredients, raw materials, recipes, nutrition, product formulas, and more. This data is crucial for consistency, compliance, channel syndication, etc. Digital assets – like food images, nutritional PDFs, and branding videos – are also important elements for driving user experience through online ordering and apps.
Customer Data can also be beneficial, as it helps companies understand customer behavior and preferences to improve personalization, experiences, and enable future business strategy.
If you select a Multi-Domain Master Data Management (MDM) platform, you can even connect domains – like Supplier, Location, and Asset – to view data in context. This type of insight enables strategic decisions based on a complete view of the enterprise.
Next, establish the right data standards, along with the flexibility you need to adapt.
As you work to embrace digital transformation, you can’t sacrifice back-of-office logistics or operations. Establish the mechanisms on the back end so that you have flexibility on the front end to meet customer needs.
Finally, understand and remedy your gaps.
Embracing digital transformation requires a diverse set of commerce technology and tools. Do you know where you have gaps? Or, how to fill them while still ensuring a quick time to value?
When facing these complexities, many Quick Service Restaurants feel overwhelmed and are not sure where to begin. At Amplifi, we work proactively to understand your business challenges, evaluate how those challenges affect your data and operations, and connect those dots to deliver a solution that addresses your goals.
View our QSR Infographic to learn about the difference Amplifi and MDM can make for your business.