By Luis Artiz, Group Product Manager, Business Systems Group at Epson America Inc.
According to the latest research from the National Restaurant Association (NRA), restaurant-industry sales are trending upward this year and projected to reach $798.7 billion by year’s end, a 4.3 percent gain over 2016. Quick service restaurant (QSR) and fast-casual sales are expected to reach $233.7 billion this year, representing a 5.3 percent gain over 2016.
While many restaurant owners are optimistic about the outlook for future business, rising labor costs and a complex legislative and regulatory landscape threaten to cut into their profit potential. One way savvy QSR restaurateurs are overcoming these challenges is by investing in new IT solutions — especially those solutions geared toward improving operational efficiencies and improving the customer experience. Here are the top five tech investments QSRs can implement to improve sales and lower expenses this year:
1. Add Online ordering. One way QSRs can provide a better experience to today’s tech-savvy consumers is by providing online ordering via the web and/or a mobile app. As an added bonus, research from IHL Group shows that when customers place orders without interacting with a human order taker, they’re more likely to place larger orders. Research by eMarketers shows that 71 percent of respondents in a study on digital ordering adopted mobile websites among restaurants worldwide. With online ordering systems for your restaurant, errors are significantly reduced, too.
Because of the convenience and control it offers customers, and the added efficiency it provides restaurants, online ordering is a much better option than ordering via telephone. More restaurants will see online ordering grow as a larger component to their takeout/delivery service, making telephone ordering almost nonexistent in the coming years.