How QSRs & Fast Casual Restaurants Are
with Mobility & Self-Service
The need for agility in meeting customers’ needs – on-prem, off-prem, and in the digital space – requires a truly mobile solution.
How can restaurant operators respond to customer demand for efficiency, personalization, and self-service?
How can the industry prepare for 2022 and beyond?
Practical considerations for fast-casual and QSRs that want mobility in their POS.
Restaurant Think Tank E-Book published by
MEET THE TEAM
Meet the Think Tank
VP Engineering and Analytics
Taco Bell Corp.
Senior Vice President of Technology
Virtual Dining Concepts
ConStrata Technology Consulting
Director Retail Sales
Personal Systems Group at Hewlett-Packard
Editor in Chief
A Restaurant Think Tank E-Book published by
RESPONDING TO DEMAND
How can restaurant operators respond to customer demand?
Top tech features when ordering food delivery or takeout/curbside.
The following features were rated of either
moderate or extreme importance to diners:
We kicked off our think tank with a discussion of customer demand. Data from Hospitality Technology’s 2021 Restaurant Technology Study suggests that customers increasingly value online and mobile ordering along with off-prem solutions such as curbside pick up, drive-through, and delivery.
“During the pandemic, our technology plans accelerated because consumer demand shifted — toward delivery, contactless services, mobile,” notes Vadim Parizher, VP Engineering and Analytics, Taco Bell Corp. “And as restaurants reopened we wondered if self-service options like kiosks would remain popular, but they have — customers value that option.”
“HP’s focus has been around making sure we invest our R&D dollars in solutions that help restaurants enhance that customer service, drive operational efficiencies, and/or allow restaurants to reduce operating costs,” says Nelson Gomez, Director Retail Sales, Personal Systems Group at HP. “The solutions that were intriguing to us were self-service and mobile use cases.”
“We need to make sure it’s convenient and efficient for customers,” says Skip Kimpel, Senior Vice President of Technology, Virtual Dining Concepts. “Personalization and self-service mean having a very strong concept of loyalty, which lets you understand your guests better.”
“Now we’re moving into a post-pandemic era — shift from off-prem into the reality, scant resources, supply-chain issues, hiring issues,” notes Toby Malbec, Managing Director, ConStrata Technology Consulting. “Does that promote robotics? Other efficiencies? Menu changes?”
“We need to address the human factor, including mobility for staff,” says Parizher. “Operational efficiencies are the next battleground. We extracted a lot of efficiencies, but we have the opportunity with tech to make a new leap: To employ AI to predict where the customer demands are going to be. Velocity needs to be analyzed in real time at the restaurant level.”
The restaurant has positive consumer reviews and high ratings on third-party reservationwebsites and/or social media (Yelp, Facebook, etc.).
Ease of online ordering process
Ability to preview menus and nutritional info
Ability to place food order online
The restaurant offers drive-thru
Ability to place a food order from your mobile device
Ability to track order status
The restaurant offers curbside pick up
The restaurant offers food delivery
Ability to pay for food via your mobile device
HOW CAN WE PREPARE?
Adoption of Tech Features That Customers Demand
Percentage of restaurants that have adopted, or plan to add:
HT’s research suggests that restaurant operators have made significant investments in mobile ordering and robust networks and connectivity. What investments are most appropriate for 2022 and beyond?
“Restaurants can think more like retailers where loyalty is concerned as well,” says Malbec. “Not just giving things away but recognizing customers and giving them what they have demonstrated they want.”
“And you’ve got to invest in data — whether it’s dining room or drive-thru,” says Kimpel. “Drive-thru has become particularly important for restaurants — data from your drive-thru will help determine where you’re headed. There’s a new set of KPIs behind this.”
“The notion of POS has been challenged,” says Parizher. “On our platform, we have multiple points of interactions — does the customer want to order on a kiosk? Order from their phone? From the office? What if they’re in their car and they see a sign? Our customers make very spontaneous decisions — we want them to be able to order from their car and pick it up however they want.”
“We’re moving toward untethered technology,” says Malbec. “The POS is not a fixed thing — it’s movable wherever you happen to be selling your food. We’re moving beyond the queue.”
“We have an opportunity to redefine the ecosystem more than ever,” says Gomez. “For example, a QSR has POS devices devoted to the counter, more at the drive-thru. But we can look at that ecosystem — potentially redeploying some mobile devices during peak periods, moving them to the counter, or moving them to the drive-thru for line-busting.”
Alternative to paper/physical menu
Ability for customers to pay via mobile device
Ability for customers to order via mobile device
Ability for customers to preview menus & nutritional information
for first time
Practical considerations for fast-casual and QSRs
Percentage of restaurants who have adopted or plan to adopt:
HT’s research demonstrates that restaurant operators continue to make significant investments in off-prem solutions. What are some relevant pain points and practical considerations for future implementations? How do restaurants look at flexible POS in the future?
“You need to recognize that your POS must be flexible enough to allow for integration and expansion,” agrees Kimpel.
“Pain points are legacy and integration,” says Malbec. “For some restaurants, it is a steep climb to attain necessary flexibility.”
“We’re getting past the baby steps and into more complex territory,” says Parizher. “We need a tight collaboration between marketing, operations, and technology — make sure none is lagging behind or too far ahead of the others. You can’t just put a gizmo in a restaurant — it takes careful understanding of how it will impact customers and the business and how the team can execute.”
“It’s so easy to make decisions and push them down,” notes Kimpel. “But some of my best experiences have been spending time with restaurant staff and managers and learning that what we think is right may not be right. Go back to basics — listen. What’s going to make their jobs easier and more efficient?”
“Let’s try to thoroughly understand the current pain points through the lens of pandemic and post-pandemic,” suggests Gomez. “There was a point where you had to pivot in terms of your tech investments or your operational implementations — in many cases, you make a decision, it gets rolled out, and you learn that it’s not the IT investment that matters most but the operational best practices. Strategic intent can be very different from operational results.”
“A conceptual pain point is when your POS is down and your restaurant is dead in the water,” says Parizher. “We think software is what’s important, but we need to be able to run it on the devices that can give us flexibility.”
“HP’s lens is how do we make sure our portfolio of solutions addresses your needs,” says Gomez. “We want to anticipate those choice points.”
Online ordering for pickup
Third-party delivery partnerships
In-house, or native delivery
Post-pandemic, how will restaurants build on the off-prem lessons learned in 2020?
POS mobility can address restaurant guests’ demand for efficiency.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW YOU CAN MEET THE CHALLENGES OF TOMORROW TODAY, VISIT HP HERE.
Self-service is a qualitative change that meets customer demand for controlling the cadence of their journey.
Digital ordering and payments open up new avenues for loyalty and personalization.
What critical considerations and new challenges await?
KEY TAKEAWAYS FOR FUTURE PLANNING: