As the world adjusts to the new normal brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the quick service restaurant (QSR) industry turned to digital channels to serve the changing needs of the customers. In such a fast-paced industry, it is crucial to consider the role of mobile technology in creating the best customer journeys whilst ensuring restaurant efficiency especially as QSR brands strive to provide convenience without losing valuable connections with its customer base.
In the context of QSRs, the importance of mobility could not be more highlighted considering the expected guest experience bound by a very short period of turn-around time.
Paul Tregoning, general manager of Fourth — provider of end-to-end, best-in-class technology and services for the hospitality, leisure, and retail industries for 20 years now — says improving mobility in the back-of-house is key to creating better experiences for the clients. QSR brands are mostly focused on the guest experience and customer-facing solutions, but these would not be possible without implementing the right solutions at the back end.
According to Tregoning, mobility in QSRs is a two-pronged discipline: the first one focuses on the guest and the guest experience, whilst the other focuses on restaurant operations. “It’s about increasing the efficiency of restaurant team members who are in charge of delivering service to the restaurants’ patrons. It’s about simplifying their daily tasks, highlighting operational and data anomalies, and reducing the amount of time it takes to train new team members. This enables restaurant owners/operators to have better visibility into key areas of their business, allowing them to make more informed and timely decisions,” he says.
According to Toast’s 2019 Restaurant Success Report, 50% of restaurant professionals surveyed marked business intelligence or reporting and analytics solutions extremely important. The same study found that restaurants use an average of three technology vendors to manage back-office operations including accounting, payroll, and inventory management.
“Given the challenges of 2020, we saw our customers focus a significant portion of their IT spend on customer-facing mobile technologies. As restaurants started coming back to somewhat normal operations, we are seeing a renewed focus on streamlining their internal operations to further improve margin control. Mobile technologies enable these improvements by: reducing hardware and infrastructure costs, reducing the time required to conduct administrative tasks, providing real-time feedback, and allowing operators to spend more time with employees and guests,” notes Tregoning.
As restaurants bounce back amidst the pandemic, it is important for brands to carefully select and implement solutions that address their specific needs. And although there are a lot of opportunistic technology suppliers coming into the restaurant space, many of these solutions are not designed to meet the unique challenges of this industry. Tregoning notes that these solutions do not scale, provide offline capabilities, or integrate seamlessly with other restaurant solutions. These are the technological and operational insights that Fourth gained over two decades that are all integrated into its mobile solutions.
“Fourth’s core solutions are developed around mobile technology and are specifically designed to enhance and optimise the overall user experience. This results in higher accuracy when performing operational tasks, a reduction in time to complete those tasks and better visibility into the overall business,” Tregoning adds.
Mobile technologies such as web apps should strike the right balance between functionality and usability in order for them to contribute to improving a QSR brand’s efficiency, and Fourth ensures that its solutions are exactly that. “Outstanding web apps should empower the user to focus on the task at hand without over-complicating the experience with unnecessary distractions. Fourth has a dedicated human factors design team responsible for ensuring our mobile apps are built with that balance in mind,” Tregoning says.
With the end goal of simplifying back-end processes to save time and resources better spent on ensuring excellent guest experience, QSR brands need to consider mobile technologies sooner rather than later. “Given the continued competition and margin constraints facing customers, we strongly encourage all our QSRs to adopt mobile technologies. Without sounding dramatic, deploying mobile based back of house technologies may be the difference between staying in business or not,” concludes Tregoning.