WWT Vice President of Digital Matt Sebek authored an article for QSR Magazine on the top five tech trends he sees impacting quick-serve restaurants in the coming year, including signage, rewards programs, customer analytics and more.
Posted by QSR on January 8, 2019:
Quick-service restaurants outperformed the fiercely competitive broader market in 2018 despite static sales within the industry and major shifts in customer demands. As 2019 revs up, restaurant chains will be faced with elevated customer expectations and new opportunities to drive growth through differentiated digital experiences.
To bolster their position as industry innovators, expect quick-serves to add additional engagement mechanisms for customers — both inside and outside their four walls. The following are the top five technology trends we can expect to create the greatest opportunities for the industry this year.
Anytime, anywhere ordering
Mobile is not the future. It is the now, as more consumers are picking up their smartphones when the hunger pangs strike. In a recent survey by Market Force Information, nearly 40 percent of consumers said they had placed a food order using their smartphone within the past 90 days — a marked increase from 2015, when only 11 percent reported using mobile order-ahead offerings.
This year, expect chain restaurants to serve up even greater convenience for customers with their mobile and remote ordering capabilities. In-store options will also expand, including digital kiosks, tabletop devices and iPad ordering, and as Alexa and other voice-activated AI technologies join more households and work places, factoring these devices into the mix will become necessary as well.
Not only do digital ordering capabilities enhance the customer experience by making it easier to customize items, cut down on time in store, bypass long lines and eliminate the hassle of paying in person, but these platforms create efficiencies for the business as well — reducing employee labor and increasing sales volumes.