24 Apr Experience. Value. Local
As the food service industry evolves over time, certain trends become more apparent. One of these trends is the need for quick service restaurants to rethink their traditional model of fast food at a cheap price, to compete with full service restaurants that are now offering take out and other value-based options. Technology changes will be paramount in helping the QSR (or Quick Serve Restaurant) industry stay relevant.
One way that QSR’s will be able to compete with their full-service competitors is to offer an elevated experience. Today’s customers are expecting more than just fast food at a low price; they want to feel good about what they are eating and how they are spending their dollars. A few simple tweaks to the experience can change the entire feel for a customer. Consider adding fresh flowers to tables in the dining room, or potted plants for an upscale ambiance. Training employees to use proper grammar, and phrases such as “happy to help”, instead of “welcome” when serving customers will also lend to a more luxurious experience for the customer. Offering full- service touches, such as clearing away trays and offering to refill drinks for customers dining in will also go a long way towards standing out and creating loyal fans who rave about the experience.
Value is a pillar of the QSR market, and one that will continue to be important. While today’s young adults care more about quality over price, they still want to feel they are getting a good value for their dollar. Parents, on the other hand, are still price conscious, and value is a high priority for them as they choose where to feed their families. How does one keep pricing low, while still competing with good quality products? Offering online ordering through mobile apps, self-serve kiosks to eliminate the need for cashiers, and an even more pared down menu with less choices. All of these options allow for bottom line savings for the restaurant, where savings can be passed on to the customers.
Whether full service or quick service, sourcing items locally is the newest trend, and it’s unlikely to be going anywhere soon. Consumers equate locally grown food as fresher, better tasting, and they feel good about supporting a business that supports their local economy. Market share for QSR’s choosing to market their locally grown produce is increasing each year. Eliminating artificial ingredients, and telling your market about this, is another change that has helped some of the major industry players. Whether you’re making the move to more locally sourced produce, or have already done it, updating your packaging to reflect that is crucial to enhance the public perception of the brand. Switching from plastic wrappers to recyclable cardboard, refreshing your logo or branding to feel more current, and highlighting the choices made to support local are all important to create brand loyal fans.
Quick serve restaurants are in a unique position at this time. With challenges coming from the market, demanding a better product, while still offering value and fast service, there are lots of changes happening. It’s an exciting time to be in the industry.