Test, Implement & Automate: How The QSR Industry Can Leverage Cloud-Connected Technology Effectively

COVID-19 has changed the way the quick service restaurant (QSR) industry serves customers. Both front and back of house have been challenged with new ways of working, shift pattern changes, and extra hygiene measures – all

of which increase the time spent on the control of preparations to serve customers both efficiently and safely.

Between the new rules on creating a COVID-19 safe environment, including the use of screens between front of house staff and customers, and the investment in new equipment to help ease the pressure on staff, there’s been a considerable cost to businesses to ensure service continues. However, the trade-off is worth it. According to a recent OpenTable survey, 72% of app users in Europe believe that these extra measures are important to help them feel safe when dining in. In the US, where operational procedures were often not followed as accurately pre-COVID, are now seeing a 280% increase in safety work at QSRs. This is further reflected in a consumer survey carried out by Toast, which reported that 52% of US consumers were most concerned about the cleanliness of tables and surfaces, while 48% were concerned about food safety and associated handling.

Of course, extra safety measures have not only increased business cost, but have decreased time available to serve customers. Fortunately, cloud-connected technology and online services have been the modern-day, time-saving hero for many fast-food stores and restaurants. In the UK, for example, a wine bar has turned itself into a wine delivery and virtual wine tasting service by investing in an e-commerce system during lockdown. European restaurants are beginning to tap into ‘meal kits’ for delivery, as more than 12% of consumers in France and 24% in Germany will continue to invest in home cooking from pre-prepared kits. And finally, ‘contactless menus’ via QR codes have now found their place with the recent launch of TripAdvisor’s easy-to-use solution, which is available for any restaurant with a TripAdvisor listing.

Plan strategically

Yet before QSRs begin to invest their time, effort and money into cloud-connected technology, first they must ensure it is planned strategically, thoroughly tested and implemented effectively with relevant onboarding and training for front and back of house staff. Without these strategic measures, technology is more likely to hinder rather than help their business – no matter if it’s a large chain or a small local restaurant.

As a global pioneer in auto-ID and labelling solutions, we recommend using equipment that enables front of house staff to be transparent with their customers. For example, when servers cannot answer questions about ingredients, allergens or nutritional content of the dishes on the menu, consumers begin to doubt their expertise, lowering confidence and trust in the brand. Implementing cloud-connected technology, such as the SATO FX3-LX printer, enables front and back of house staff to understand exactly what ingredients, allergens and nutritional content are contained within specific menu items or recipes. The server simply uses the 7-inch TFT full colour touch screen to navigate through each recipe and quickly answer the customer. It also works for chefs too, where they can easily refer to the recipe ingredients from a few quick taps, even while wearing gloves.

Devices like the FX3-LX are also great for menu updates. So, if a restaurant is part of a larger chain and a menu item is changed with very little notice, the printer can easily download any new updates from its central database located at the chain’s headquarters. By providing real-time management of regulatory compliance and consistency of offer, trust in the brand is maintained. It’s this small attention to detail that makes a big difference with consumers right now.

Test and train on site

Once the QSR has decided on the type of cloud-connected technology it wants to implement, it’s worth taking time out to test the device with the staff. For instance, the FX3-LX comes with several video training features, which delivers a uniformed approach. This means all staff can easily operate the device and use it for different business needs. It’s also worth identifying where cloud technology is most needed in order to assist at an operational level. Can it help to manage food rotation and control temperature effectively? Does it help you save time and costs with an easy-clean interface with anti-bacterial casing? Finally, does the device print tamper-proof seals to boost consumer trust in products when delivered to their home? To automate effectively, testing and training staff is key.

Cloud-connected technology is continuing to prove its worth in the QSR industry. Between EPOS systems for smooth operations, virtual queuing technology, QR codes and devices that can aid with food safety and preparation, there are countless ways these automated solutions can save crucial time for front of house staff. Just make sure to test them first!

For more information

please visit: https://www.satoeurope.com/

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