While many service industries suffered financially during the COVID-19 pandemic, one food industry sector came out ahead: Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs). Diners enthusiastically embraced QSR businesses offering drive-thrus and contactless delivery of meals that traveled well, allowing people stuck at home to enjoy familiar favorites.
As we fully emerge from living under pandemic restrictions, the QSR sector is still going strong. These four trends are driving the continued success of national and local restaurant brands alike.
#1: Bring on the tech.
While the pandemic can’t be credited with introducing tech to the QSR market, it seems to have accelerated an already prominent trend: digitization. Consumers simply love online ordering.
In fact, they love it so much that ordering up a meal or treat online has become an expectation. And, according to QSR Magazine, today’s QSR diners are more loyal to restaurant brands that offer online ordering and other tech.
On the back end, bringing on an in-house online ordering system delivers big benefits:
New opportunities for upselling
Customer loyalty program integration and management
Online tracking, which reduces the need for diners to contact store for order updates, freeing up staff time
Easy access to data analytics that reveal key insights about customer behavior and inventory management
#2 The rise of virtual restaurants.
“Dark kitchens” or “ghost kitchens” have no public shop-front presence. Deliveries roll into real kitchens via online ordering platforms, chefs prepare the food, and off it goes. Needless to say, technology is integral for this model to work well.
These operations are unique in several ways, but perhaps most interesting is that many dark kitchens use multiple brands and menus from single commercial kitchens. Success hinges only on the strength of an online presence and robust online ordering operations.
#3 Healthier menu options have become more mainstream.
Dining out is no longer an occasional indulgence for millions of consumers. It comes as no surprise that many frequent QSR customers prefer healthier options than the standard fare offered a few years ago.
QSR Magazine reports that diners have gravitated toward restaurants offering fresher options like salads and fruit-based side dishes — especially those centered on local produce. More than ever, it’s common to notice brightly lit, colorful photos of fresh fruits and vegetables featured on branded online ordering pages.
#4 Data-driven decision making is giving many QSRs a competitive edge.
Insights into diner preferences and behaviors are invaluable when it comes to making smart business decisions. QSRs have a competitive edge when they implement an online ordering platform with data analytics integration.
This trend is empowering QSRs to gain better control over:
Daily operations including staff management
Industry compliance requirements
The bottom line
Looking ahead, it’s clear that QSR customers will continue responding positively to modern, convenience-focused benefits like frictionless online ordering. To remain competitive (or better yet, to gain a competitive edge), wise companies will continue investing in targeted upgrades like branded online ordering platforms. Onosys can help - schedule a demo today.