Technology in Fast Food Restaurants (QSR)
Quick service restaurants work with tight margins and high operating costs, so opportunities to boost efficiency and save money are always being considered. A common theme is the practice of keeping up with the latest technology for information and resource management, and leveraging quality analytics to minimise waste and monitor performance gains. It’s no surprise, then, that the QSR industry is heavily investing in information technology.
IT is Everywhere in QSR
Analytics aid in supply management. The process starts with the point-of-sale terminals, which provide real-time information that software can analyze. What are you spending the most on, and what’s going to waste because of too much inventory? Are there regular fluctuations over the week? Answering those questions allows money-saving adjustments in choosing suppliers and scheduling delivery.
Speed of service is equally important, especially in drive-throughs. Analytics will help find out what factors slow order handling down. Do drivers stop a long time at the menu board? Are their orders being misheard? Is payment a big delaying factor? Do employees repeatedly make certain mistakes? Time-based analysis will reveal where changes in the process will improve throughput the most.
Many QSRs use mobile applications for ordering. They’re good not just for speeding up ordering but for gathering information. Along with PoS terminals, they provide an easily analysed source of ordering information and customer feedback.
The “Internet of Things” is a growing part of the QSR industry. Display screens can change as necessary, adjusting the featured items and presentation style to the time of day or the available supplies. Monitoring equipment can help to track energy use and catch malfunctions before they turn into big problems. Ovens, refrigerators, lighting, heating and air conditioning can all provide information for analysis, allowing money-saving measures. If one of them suddenly starts using more energy, it’s time for some maintenance.
Monitoring increases food safety. If refrigerators aren’t maintaining the right temperature, or if ovens are under-performing, the result could be disease organisms in food. Even if employees notice the problem before serving the food, that’s food which has to be thrown away. On the other hand, if storage temperatures are lower than the optimum, that’s wasted energy and an increased cooking cost.
Putting it all Together
The best results come when all the tools work together smoothly. Having lots of data isn’t valuable by itself. Trying to deal with disorganised information is inefficient, and decisions based on it aren’t always good ones. Equipment, supplies, food preparation, order taking, and serving are all parts of the service chain. Inefficiency anywhere along it affects the whole process.
This means you should choose devices and software not just for how well they perform separately but for how well they work together. Devices should be able to provide data in standard formats that the analytic software can incorporate. The more information it brings together, the more useful its summaries will be.
You need to take data security into consideration. Cheaply made devices often are totally vulnerable to Internet attacks, and malware could take them over. They could steal information from your computers or launch attacks on other systems. Choose equipment from vendors with reliable reputations, even if it costs a little more.
Managing the System
Granted, managing all this is complicated. You’re running a restaurant, not an IT shop. You want reliable, organised information, but you can’t make a full-time operation of network management. That’s where managed services come in.
A managed service provider will recommend equipment that’s reliable and works together. They will help you to choose the right combination of hardware and software that delivers the insights you need to improve your business’s service and reduce running costs.
This Solution has worked closely with businesses like Hungry Jack’s and KFC for years to streamline and support their operations and improve operational efficiency and profit margins. Talk to us about how we can bring all your technology together and help you get the most out of it.