Now that the excitement of the New Year has passed, it’s time to get to work on making 2016 more successful than 2015. There’s no better time than now for quick service restaurants to make a few changes and open the door for a lucrative 2016. Here are a few things to consider:
Initiate menu tweaks
Many consumers admittedly frequent quick service restaurants for the speed with which they can get food there, but also because they enjoy one or more of these establishments’ signature menu items. However, an equal number of customers would love to see something different on quick service restaurants’ menus—and might even visit their local quick service hangout more frequently if new items were available there.
There’s nothing wrong with keeping a multitude of long-time staples on the menu, but there’s everything right in mixing things up a bit this year by introducing new versions of old favorites. For instance, burgers or pizzas with toppings that have never before been offered or fried chicken with an as-yet-untried seasoning could be popular additions to your menu. To gauge whether such items should remain on the menu, take time later in the year to analyze sales data collected by your POS system.
Satisfy increased customer demand for healthier fare
Today, there exists a sizeable cadre of consumers who want to find lighter, more nutritious selections on quick service restaurants’ menus. This doesn’t mean overhauling the entire menu—which normally would sound the death knell for quick service restaurants. It just involves a few adjustments, such as adding more salads, lower-calorie sides, and reduced-calorie, lower-carbohydrate versions of regular items (e.g., veggie-studded pizza with half the typical amount of cheese or bunless burgers wrapped in lettuce).
Implement technology that enhances the customer experience
Any technology that allows quick service restaurants to prepare and deliver customers’ orders more efficiently also makes the customer experience better. If you are able to ensure a positive experience for customers at your quick service restaurant, they are more likely to return again and again, thereby bolstering sales.
Quick service restaurants should have drive-thru timers that keep track of performance in drive-through lanes, allowing operators to see how fast customers are being served and giving them a base for making any necessary procedural adjustments. Restaurant owners should also look into digital menu boards whose content can be updated in real time to promote special deals and items.
Freestanding kiosks or tablet devices at the counter that allow customers to place orders themselves may also be worthwhile investments for quick service restaurants; they can help speed up the ordering process, which customers appreciate. Some fast-casual players now offer customers the convenience and flexibility of ordering and pre-paying for their food online or through an app. Quick service restaurants might want to consider doing the same.
Place a heightened emphasis on security and loss prevention
Quick service restaurants clearly aren’t doing enough in this area, given the continued employee theft “bite” into their bottom line. Statistics from QSR Magazine tell the tale: employee theft accounts for 75 percent of restaurant industry losses, with employees of quick service restaurants (who have the greatest access to cash) most likely to steal or deviate from cash-handling procedures. Such losses amount to about four percent of quick service restaurants’ annual sales.
To turn the tide, quick service restaurants should install strategically positioned security cameras, which not only deter staff from stealing, but also allow them to monitor (and, if necessary, address) employee productivity. Integrating an IP surveillance system with the POS system helps to keep losses at bay by allowing operators to compare transactions, like refunds and discounts, against recorded video footage, and to see if employees are pocketing cash or giving away free food.
Quick service restaurants cannot afford to rest on their laurels and must make continued efforts to improve every year. This year should be no exception, and preparing for it by taking the above measures will bode well for operators over the course of 2016.