Trends to Watch for Quick Service Restaurants in 2019

The popularity of Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) and fast casual dining trended upward in 2018 and will continue to increase as Americans increasingly opted for meals that could be eaten at home.

Some leading quick service restaurants reported that drive thru orders accounted for nearly 70 percent of sales in 2018, and the latest statistics indicate that overall, 50 percent of dinner meals were purchased to eat at home last year.

For 2019, business analysts advise those in the industry to look out for these trends that could affect their bottom lines this year.

Digital and Delivery

Many fast casual and quick service restaurants dipped their toe in the digital realm, offering customers ordering options through their websites and mobile applications. Others got into the food delivery game with help from popular services such as Uber Eats, Grubhub, and PostMates.

Sure, only 5 percent of all restaurant orders were made online in 2018 but consider the statistic that mobile devices facilitated nearly 38 percent of all dining experiences last year, and while only 6 percent of total sales were digital in 2017. Analysts predict that could skyrocket to as much as 30 percent by 2025.

Value

When it comes to dining options, what Millennials want is simple: Value. A recent study indicated that while 37 percent of diners overall said they consider value a driving factor in their decision making about food, that number is much higher among Millennials. For 46 percent of those younger Americans, getting a good value is paramount. Industry insiders expect fast casual and quick service restaurants to continue to entice value-driven consumers by beefing up limited-time and special offers.

Recruiting Ruts

Recruiting and retaining quality candidates in the fast casual and quick service restaurant industry has become increasingly difficult. According to the National Restaurant Association, 37 percent of members said they were struggling with recruitment efforts in 2017 – up nearly 15 percent from 2015. The controversy over wages for fast food workers continued in 2018, as 19 states increased their minimum wage.

But increased wages are just one way fast casual and quick service restaurants are luring and retaining quality employees. To help combat the recruitment rut, many of these businesses are offering new and better benefits.

For example, Starbucks recently announced it would offer reimbursement for backup child and adult care, while fast casual chain Noodles & Co. began offering reduced work schedules for expectant mothers. Others offer discounted tickets, bonuses, and college scholarships to help increase demand for jobs in the fast casual and quick service restaurant realm.

More Going Meatless

With more Americans going meatless because of health, environmental, and moral concerns, fast casual and quick service restaurants are following suit. Industry analysts said some eateries have seen a three-fold increase in sales of meatless menu items.

The Impossible Burger, which “bleeds” and sizzles as it cooks, has been a game changer for many fast casual chains and quick service restaurants. White Castle now sells Impossible Burger sliders at all of their locations, and Carl’s Jr. just this month launched a plant-based burger. Even McDonalds is mulling the offering after more than 63,000 people signed a petition imploring the fast food giant to carry a meat-alternative.

The plant-based food industry rakes in more than $3.5 billion dollars a year, and fast casual and quick service restaurants would be wise to buy into its popularity.

About The Company

OrderMatic Corporation develops solutions that enhance the customer transactional experience in new and innovative ways. OrderMatic designs and manufactures drive thru menu boards, branded next generation signage, and drive in products and accessories for quick service restaurants, retail merchants, and sports and entertainment venues.