3 Things QSRs Can’t Do Without in 2021

Last weekend, I went out for a quick run around the block. As I was walking back home, I crossed my favorite QSR. The humid weather was getting to me and I found myself craving an ice-cold smoothie. This craving grew even stronger as I glanced through the windows of the eatery. Filled with pictures of decadent acai bowls and blueberry smoothies, the menu looked extremely appetizing. 

Sadly, I had to let go of my cravings. As tempting as it was, my preferred QSR hadn’t done much in the name of precautions against COVID- no contactless dining or self-ordering kiosks! It just wasn’t worth the risk. 

I couldn’t help but wonder how many people’s thoughts echoed mine as they crossed this charming outlet. Just how many weeks or months had it been since business remained slow due to these reasons?

It got me thinking- QSRs have to radically change the way they run their business if they want to meet the demands of today’s world. A post-pandemic society is bound to have increasing concerns about safety and health. And as we grow more and accustomed to technology and quick service, convenience has come to the forefront. So, which factors are going to be absolutely indispensable for a QSR in 2021?

Self-Ordering Kiosks

Self-Ordering kiosks have been on the rise lately. They give guests the option to place orders on their own at a food outlet, without the intervention of restaurant staff. The kiosk screen shows the menu and directs customers on how to place the order. In a way, the entire process is automated. Kiosks are easy to disinfect and can be equipped with sanitizing wipes for customers to use before touching the screen too, which is extremely important in the COVID-19 era.

                                                                                                                        Image Via Bloomberg

Fast-casual restaurants and QSRs all across the world are now venturing into the world of food kiosks. Pure Green in New York, a smoothie chain has been using a combination of QR codes and self-ordering kiosks to promote social distancing. What is it that makes this technology so appealing?

Well, there are a ton of perks. For one, self-ordering kiosks do wonders in cutting down wait times and shortening queues! The entire customer experience is elevated to a whole new level. Instead of allocating employees to jot down orders, these kiosks can be used to fill in. At the same time, manpower can direct their efforts towards sanitization and food delivery. 

Next, restaurants can take upselling to a whole new level. A kiosk can be set up to offer an upsell every time a customer selects a menu item - such as a popup of small fries when a burger is ordered, or a cup of coffee with a bagel. Now here’s the best part- kiosks can customize the upsell option based on the customer order history. Naturally, this strategic upselling often leads to larger check sizes. 

Contactless Dining

Contactless dining makes it clear that technology often plays a huge role in navigating tough times. It is a cost-effective solution that does away with the need for interaction between employees and diners. 

Here’s how it goes. 

First, restaurants need to get the word out there that they are up and running for dine-in. It’s important to emphasize that you’re being cautious and have the customer’s best interests in your mind. 

Next, customers can drop in for a quick bite to your restaurant, with social distancing being enforced. Post this, orders can be placed either on the restaurant app or by scanning a QR code that enables them to access an online menu. After the meal, payments can be done online as well. 

                                                                                                                                  Image via 2ndKitchen

This technology addition ensures 100% order accuracy and zero chance of miscommunication. Employees, as well as guests, can be assured of their safety as well. The entire process is quick, seamless, and not too difficult for a customer to follow. Given that an order can be placed with just a few clicks, the restaurant can serve more customers with a quick turnaround time. 

The shift from traditional menus to going paperless has been catalyzed with the onset of the pandemic and it’s definitely there to stay. Read about the benefits of contactless dining here.  

Online Ordering

Since the restaurant industry got hit by the pandemic, online ordering technology became the bridge between the restaurants and the customers with 65% of orders being placed online via both third-party aggregators and native websites. For many restaurants, it became the only way to stay afloat. 

Needless to say, keeping up with tech-savvy millennials is an essential part of running a restaurant now. So how do you attract and retain your customers with online ordering? 

                                                                                                                          Image via Business Wire

It’s easy - you invest in the right kind of online ordering system. With an effective in-house system, you can get out of paying commissions and sell food directly to your customers. While customers find it convenient to order their favorite foods from the comfort of their own homes, it allows you to keep 100% profits from every order. Check out our guide here to learn the tricks to leverage the power of online ordering? 

Closing Thoughts!

With the ongoing vaccination drives around the world, it seems like the pandemic is nearing its end, but this past one year has managed to form certain habits that are going to stick around in the future as well - convenience and the incessant need to stay safe. Keeping in mind the changing dynamics of the consumer demand, it would be beneficial for restaurants to equip themselves with the latest technologies and make their business future-ready. Not only it will help them to stay fight future adversities but also remain connected with customers at all levels.