Re-imagining QSR technology in a disrupted industry
Re-imagining QSR technology in a disrupted industry5 minutes
Many quick service restaurants (QSR) have set their sights on utilizing technology to help meet businesses sustainability goals, all the while remaining efficient and profitable. With the many complications brought about by COVID-19 including the requirement to close the doors on QSRs, the use of technology in the industry quickly evolved to become the beacon of hope to help businesses stay afloat.
Panasonic’s QSR technology is helping businesses innovate and stay relevant in order to meet consumer demands. This is achieved by adapting traditional operation models to remain efficient and profitable. Benefits of technology stretch beyond the bottom line; it is also enabling businesses to prioritize and protect the safety of restaurant workers and customers in uncertain times
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, dozens of Canadian communities from Toronto to Vancouver were considering banning the drive-thru, primarily for environmental and health concerns. This left many QSRs reconsidering traditional window service in today’s technology-driven economy. It means steering their business toward more innovative and sustainable options or staying idle.
With technology, QSRs can now reimagine traditional window service to cut down vehicle idle time and reduce environmental impacts by incorporating automation through pre-ordering via mobile apps, digital pre-payment and food locker pickup options. Beyond the economic benefits of implementing these technologies, customers receive a more accurate order in less time which helps businesses keep pace with the consumer demand for digitization and customization.
New innovations addressing industry needs
When Mary Brown’s Chicken & Taters, one of the country’s largest chicken QSRs was contemplating how to meet its aggressive expansion plans, the company upgraded its POS system. By introducing intuitive AI technology, Panasonic’s iQtouch software, the franchise was able to streamline various processes and efficiencies – the most notable being in its kitchens. Productivity increased and order accuracy vastly improved, reducing overall kitchen waste and leaving a positive impact on the company’s net profits.
Leveraging existing technology in a pandemic
The importance of a reconceptualized drive-thru became even more important for QSRs once the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. Having temporarily closed in-restaurant operations, a national food chain had to operate in “drive-thru only” mode. However, due to social distancing guidelines set by all levels of government, a traditional drive-thru window operation would no longer be considered safe for workers.
As drive-thru traffic increased, the food chain turned to Panasonic for a solution to ensure their staff were able to achieve appropriate social distance in over 3,000 locations nationwide. Using existing Panasonic POS technology, in a press of a button the food chain’s locations could now convert idle front counter tills into drive-thru order takers. The closure of in-restaurant service meant the front counter tills were vacant which offered the additional space needed for staff to operate the drive-thru safely and efficiently while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
Technology innovation in the restaurant industry does not always have to be complicated. In the case of the national food chain, the implementation of existing technology in a non-traditional way allowed employees to work at a physically safe distance without the need for technicians to be physically in-store to transition to this operating model.
Industry innovation for the next normal
Now more than ever, many in the foodservice sector continue to feel the squeeze and are changing traditional operations practices to manage the shifts in demand, labour market and rising food prices. As QSR businesses strive to operate efficiently, Panasonic is committed to innovate and provide solutions for an industry that will likely need to continue to evolve to meet consumer demands and stay profitable, while also considering what the next normal holds for the industry.