A lot has changed over the past few years; QSR has evolved from a food to a food technology industry. However, few basic tenets of tech transformation still hold true for QSR too. Let me start with the ‘elephant in the room’- rising ghost restaurants. 2020 will be a hallmark year where we would experience multitude of brands that only deliver food and working out of anywhere. This would make the operations frugal yet profitable.
Another trend that’s going to sweep the industry significantly is personalisation of craving. There is no one-rule-fits-all. The need for customization has grown manifold – and even with rigid operations/procedures – QSR brands have to embrace this personalisation. This will only be possible if you embrace technology. If you know the consumer palate – you will be able to personalise more.
This brings me to the next most important point – need for data. Data and demand will go hand-in-hand. Brands will need to invest more and more in knowing the consumer – their palette, preferences and point of inflections.
There has been a growing demand for flexible convenience. Last few years have seen the change in the way QSR approach order taking – while at one hand technology has made it convenient – still the mantra going forth is to balance between technology and human intervention. 2020 will be a year of ‘Guided Artificial Intelligence’. Self-help kiosks will become more intuitive and human.
My last bet would be collaborated offering. QSR will no more remain in the debris of snacking. This will be seen through brands coming together to create a unisync experience – moving the consumer from a quick-bite to beyond. More and more sustainable initiatives and conscious consumerism will redefine the delivery turf.
As a whole I believe we are entering a new era for QSR – from an era of brands to era of stands – where taste and conscience will be valued together.
(As published in https://www.entrepreneur.com/ 27 Dec 2019 )