Technology in the Quick Service Restaurant Industry


In order to attain a detailed understanding of how franchise systems make decisions to implement technology programs that benefit all franchised units, and how technology implementation standards have changed throughout the pandemic, Comcast Business and FRANdata partnered to conduct a survey across franchise brands in the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry, to gain further insight into technology’s impact on the businesses. On average, franchise systems from survey respondents operate approximately 104 franchised units. This average is skewed by a large franchise brand representing more than 1,000 locations.

Of all the brands represented in this study, 40% of the brands have less than 10 franchised units, 30% of the brands have between 11 and 50 franchised units, 10% of the brands have between 51 and 100 franchised units, while the remaining 20% have more than 100 franchised units.

The survey respondents included franchisor executives who are at Director level (and above) with titles in Marketing (traditional & digital), Technology & IT, and Operations teams.

From front-of-house to back-office to digital marketing, technology is involved in all aspects of franchise business operations. The pandemic has boosted franchise businesses’ reliance on technology adoption. Greater connectivity, mobile apps, and cloud technology are required during the recovery period of the COVID-19 pandemic. Leveraging these technology options allows franchisors to improve their operational efficiencies and focus on value-creating initiatives, such as building brand loyalty by improving consumer experience and boosting employment engagement, across their entire system of business locations.

Sales for indoor-dining restaurants were hard-hit when the pandemic first began, so restaurants were forced to quickly adapt to those changes by relying more on digital/online orders through takeout, delivery, and curbside pickup. More advanced technology and digital solutions, such as touchless payment systems, contactless in-store ordering options, use of AI systems for drive-thru orders, and other innovations have all increasingly been adopted to help businesses increase revenues. In addition, franchisors also had to think about technology across their entire system for all their locations. They focused on rolling out new POS systems, completing third-party POS integration, and implementing real-time reporting across all platforms to offer the convenience and flexibility that customers crave.

A study on how franchise systems implement technology programs

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