Quick-serve restaurants (QSRs) are revolutionizing the way that restaurants are using automation to facilitate placing and customizing orders without putting burdens on the staff– or the management’s need to hire more staff to increase customer turnover.  

Quick Serve Restaurants

Everything is being digitized today, and restaurants are no exception. Customers can now place orders, pay, and get a receipt without having to interact with a cashier.

For QSRs (quick-serve restaurants) in particular, these digital self-serve ordering capabilities have been a major game changer for the business. QSRs encompass fast food establishments like McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr. as well as fast casual restaurants like Panera and Cosi. Microsoft’s retail solutions have been a boon to both QSRs and their customers by giving customers the ability to customize their orders, redeem rewards, and pay for their food without a cashier to assist them. This has increased productivity, customer satisfaction, and daily customer turnover.

When customers are able to place orders with the staff only fulfilling them, it puts less pressure on labor costs and according to regulatory burdens (such as minimum wage increases and insurance requirements under the Affordable Care Act.) Additionally, this type of automation relieves pressure on the staff for taking orders so more time can be spent on fulfillment, maintaining the store, and handling customer requests. With so many customers paying by credit card, PayPal, Apple pay, and other cashless modes of payment, this also relieves the cashiers so that they only have to manually process transactions for customers paying in cash, leading to greater efficiency.

Carl’s Jr. successfully employed Microsoft-based Dell hardware for their self-service ordering system that allows the customer to place the order, customize it to their liking, pay, and get a receipt without the staff having to interact with the customer at all. The hardware solution in place simply uses an integrated card swipe and attached printer for only $750, with Microsoft Retail software for the self-service application.

Additionally, Microsoft Retail industry solutions can be tailored to every QSR franchise’s needs. The self-service applications gave Carl’s Jr. the ability to upsell additional items and round up the order, such as upgrading a sandwich to a combo. The customers can customize any item- not just sandwiches- such as adding items like cheese and lettuce and removing items like sausage and onions. Customers who want to customize just one or several aspects of their orders can cause a significant burden on both the staff and the other customers waiting in line: with Microsoft Retail’s customized solutions, customized orders become very easy to fulfill because there’s far less possibility of input errors that will accidentally give the customer something different than what they ordered. Upselling is also made much simpler because while customers may not like the feeling that they’re being sold to talking to a person placing the order, the lack of pressure makes the upsell easier to capitalize on. The customer will feel less pressure from an app than from a people literally trying to sell something to them right that second, especially if they can see a price difference in upgrading a drink size or purchasing a combo right on the screen while this cannot be seen when a cashier is punching numbers into a register.

For QSRs like Panera that utilize a loyalty card system, it is also easy to use personalization and reward programs with Microsoft Retail applications. Customers can receive personalized recommendations based on their order history, rewards available to redeem, and current promotions that are chain-wide or only available to particular franchises. Menus can be easily updated to include as many or few customization possibilities as needed, as well as promotions and combination savings. For QSRs that have returning customer features such as being able to tap a loyalty card or use a login, it’s possible for customers to not even have to swipe a credit card when making their purchase which significantly speeds up the payment process.

Even independent sit-down restaurants and QSRs can benefit from Microsoft Solutions by relieving the burden on their staff and management by making these reasonable investments in their technological infrastructure: customers don’t have to wait for waitstaff to appear near their table to request drink refills, ordering additional items, or even paying the bill. This frees up the staff to handle more urgent matters and also decreases the possibility of errors made in the ordering process.

Microsoft Solutions is leading the charge for revolutionizing QSRs and other dining establishments; making the process of dining out more seamless for QSR managers, staff, and customers alike. The significant cost savings in installing just $750 of hardware and a customized Microsoft Retail application is far less than the cost of onboarding a new cashier and the ongoing costs they will represent in labor, insurance, overtime, and the other associated expenses of employee retention. The increased productivity, especially during busy peak hours like the breakfast rush or lunchtime, will also equate to happier customers who can customize orders with ease and no longer have to face incredibly long lines and holding up the line with their requests just for the cashier to make an error inputting the information.

Automation is the wave of the future and changing the face of the restaurant business. Learn more about how Microsoft Retail can make your food service establishment run more efficiently.