01 Feb Fast Food Speed Hype for 2018
The restaurant business is constantly evolving, and that’s true for fast food establishments as well. Higher adoption of faster payment methods such as contactless and in-app payments are on the rise. Additionally, automation continues to ramp up with more chains testing self-order kiosks.
In fast food, getting the customer in and out quickly is key. Faster payment methods are crucial to meeting the needs of the drive thru customer. Many fast casual locations have implemented NFC, or contactless technologies. This allows customers to simply “tap” their phone or device to a compatible terminal. Other restaurants, like Taco Bell, Chick-Fil-A, and Burger King, offer apps for smartphones so customers can pay right through their phone. For fast food restaurants this means a speedier process at the cash register.
Takeout and delivery-based fast food restaurants are now benefiting from payments being taken in advance. These intuitive tech systems allow customers to pay when they place their order instead of when they pick it up. Whether you enable phone ordering, online ordering, or in-app ordering, accepting payment by card at the time of order means that when customers come to pick up their food, they’re in and out more quickly. If the order is for delivery, pre-payment means less staff time spent per delivery and less cash carried around outside the restaurant.
Fast food and fast casual establishments continue to both focus on providing quicker meals than a traditional sit-down restaurant, but fast casual is typically not quite as speedy as fast food but that finish line is getting blurrier by the day. However, on the flip side, fast food has responded to fast casual’s encroachment by offering foods once thought of as faster casual fare. Artisan sandwiches, salads with specialty toppings, and fresh baked muffins or other pastries are now popping up at fast food joints that traditionally serve burgers and fries. Doughnut shops have expanded into offering wraps, cold cuts on bagels, and other lunch items not typically associated with fast food doughnut shops.
Additionally, many fast casual chains have started offering combo or value meals, providing pre-set choices that can help speed up customer ordering times. While combo meals at fast casuals typically aren’t as low cost as value meals at fast food restaurants, the ability to simply order “one” item can reduce staff time entering the order.
Diners are busier than ever and the choices are abundant. And that means speed and convenience will still reign supreme in 2018.