May 30, 2019

Top 5 Tech Trends Evolving in QSR

Written By
Keely Stephens

As the QSR experience continues to mature from a simple on-the-go meal option to an often full-fledged (even trendy) dining experience, we’re seeing a number of new technologies and experiences evolve.

From mobile ordering to loyalty programs, these programs are helping restaurants adapt to customers’ ever-evolving expectations for a better in-store experience, while still balancing the convenience factor.

Here are five emerging trends we’re seeing in the QSR space transforming the restaurant experience:

  • Kiosks: In the BRP study, 71% of consumers said ease of ordering and payment was important, yet only about 45% of restaurants deliver on this expectation. As QSRs continue to prioritize speed and efficiency as a core element of their customer experience, expect to see more mobile devices like kiosks, tablets and iPads used in restaurants for ordering, providing status updates on a food order, and more.
  • Mobile ordering: Mobile ordering has given new meaning to on-the-go meals, allowing consumers to not only skip the line, but provide the additional convenience of easy order customization. As mentioned in our previous blog post, Starbucks in particular leads in this feature, with 23.4 million people from ages 14 and over using its mobile app to make a point-of-sale purchase in 2014.
  • Loyalty programs: With less than half of consumers reporting they feel valued by restaurants, it’s clear that the days of paper punch cards are long gone. As restaurants continue working to keep rewards-hungry customers coming back for more, expect loyalty programs to continue to be more prevalent throughout QSRs -- whether it be in the form of a mobile app or card-linked reward system.
  • Delivery: Whether you’re using a third-party service like UberEats and Postmates, or handling deliveries directly, not having a delivery service is no longer an option for QSRs as customers increasingly opt for delivery over drive-thru. In a recent study by Off-Premise Insights, restaurant sales for takeout, delivery, and catering were forecasted at $209 billion for 2018, with delivery representing $45 billion.
  • Frictionless payment: Looking at other ways QSRs can make the on-the-go experience even quicker and more efficient (i.e. cut down on lines) QSRs should consider revamping the payment experience. Looking at Amazon Go as a North Star, imagine if more QSRs adapted this technology, enabling customers to quickly grab their lunch and go without going through the checkout process.

It should come as no surprise that customer expectations for both in-store experience and service has skyrocketed in the last few years, and QSR businesses are no exception. We look forward to seeing how some of the above technologies change the QSR restaurant experience.

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