In the highly competitive quick-service restaurant industry, brands are racing to improve their customer experience, enhance their offerings, and accommodate customers' rapidly evolving preferences and behaviors. That means leveraging the full potential of mobile technology to improve the experience of both customers and employees.
Consumers are demanding a new level of service in the digital age and mobile technology is the solution to offer this. However, integrating a successful mobile program isn't just about technology. Brands must take into account employees operating at the point of service are able to effectively use updated mobile technology to help optimize the customer experience. The needs of employees have to be considered when building these mobile programs, or the solution will not be nearly as effective. If done correctly, a mobile transformation can fundamentally change the restaurant for consumers and staff. Below are a few different ways mobility is disrupting the industry.
Shaping the Brand Experience
Many fast-casual brands are implementing mobile apps, self-service apps and mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) to speed service delivery in the restaurant and at the drive-thru. Customer loyalty programs, meanwhile, allow quick-serves to offer coupon redemption and other perks. This equates to an overall better experience for the customer, in-store and out. Brands like Chick-fil-A and McDonalds have seen success using these branded mobile apps, and it won’t be long before these become industry standard.
Beyond investing in the technology, brands must have a comprehensive Day-2 support program to ensure your devices stay operational and secured—and employees have quality support when they need it, where they need it. Spare devices must be ready in case of failure of critical devices like mPOS and support must be nearby if there are any technical difficulties with devices or mobile apps. Partnering with a trusted mobile solution provider is the best way to avoid these risks and ensure a seamless mobile experience for consumers and employees alike.
Manage High Employee Turnover
For quick-service restaurants, having a high concentration of part-time staff that are constantly coming and going often places a priority on activities like training, compliance, reporting and asset management. Investing in a specialized mobile support program helps reduce your franchise owners' risk of productivity loss and improves ROI.
Mobile solutions can improve employee experiences and raise the overall efficiency of daily activities, from inventory to sales and even optimizing back of house tasks. Mobility has wide-ranging impacts for quick-service restaurant staff and can streamline all processes so that even in cases of high turnover, there is little lag in getting new employees onboard and up to speed. Less time is wasted on training and compliance and owners can rest assured their locations are working efficiently.
From the cold of a kitchen refrigerator to a piping hot stove or rainstorms at the drive-thru, the QSR environment has many extremes. A transformative mobile solution is about paring both hardware and software with the needs of the end user. Employees executing the transformation starts with digital tools designed for that specific end-user environment.
For quick-serves, this could be durable, weather- resistant tablets capable of handling any task from inventory management in a freezer to a drive-thru mPOS during a hailstorm. Restaurants have many variables and mobile devices need to be able to handle these extremes. An experienced mobility provider can create a bespoke solution to match the needs of a quick-service restaurant to the specific hardware their environment requires.
A food-safety crisis can threaten your customers' health, do significant damage to your quick-service brand and even hurt sales on a short- and long-term basis. Meanwhile, relying on hand-labeling is both inefficient and prone to employee error and customer misinterpretation, which could lead to food-safety and liability issues. Transforming to a mobile solution cuts down on errors, increases employee efficiency and leads to an overall safer experience.
Updating the Franchise Business Model
Mobility programs are complex, integrating hardware, apps, peripherals, cases, connectivity and much more. Restaurants need the flexibility of a mobility partner that can support these disparate elements at scale across the brand, offer a personalized approach in each restaurant and manage the entire program under a mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) monthly payment model.
Many quick-serves are looking to transition from outdated systems or manual/paper-based environments to a digital solution for inventory management, food safety and quality, employee and safety logs, etc. Only an experienced mobility expert can handle the multiple moving parts, vendors and touchpoints involved from pilot to rollout.
The future of quick service is mobile. All brands will integrate mobile apps and solutions to enhance their overall experience. The benefits for franchises are clear and those that fail to transform will be left behind by the more innovative brands. The key is to partner with a trusted mobility provider so that not only are your mobile experiences enhancing the customer journey but that your staff is capable and prepared to use mobile technology to its full potential.
Phillip Bloomfield is an Enterprise Account Executive at Stratix. He joined Stratix in 2018, bringing with him over 22 years of mobile technology experience in solution architecture, operating systems, hardware and software management platforms for Fortune 100 level enterprises. He is using his extensive expertise as an account manager to strategically partner with Stratix customers by providing innovative solutions, programs, and consultation that align with the client’s digital strategy or identified outcomes.