3 priorities for QSRs in a data-driven, post-pandemic world

Tired of fighting for a seat at the lunch table, restaurants are now coming to terms with the crucial role of data to optimise operations and compete in a fast-paced QSR landscape. With an influx of new technology and digital solutions, many QSRs have been able to drive efficiency and increase their bottom line, even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some restaurant owners have used iPads or self-service kiosks for order-taking, which reduces wait times and allows customers to see what they're ordering before they place it; or mobile payment services, which makes transactions faster while also reducing errors from cashiers who might mishear orders or forget items on the order slip; or even apps like UberEats that allow for seamless deliveries.

In the wake of COVID-19, the drive-thru has also become a key component of QSRs and has become a rich source of data in improving kitchen and operational efficiency. Restaurants have used data from the drive-thru by tracking what customers order in the front of house (FOH) and then matching it up in real time with what's available out back.

Luke Irving, CEO of Fingermark, says that this is exactly what technology should be about. While restaurants can install and deploy the latest solutions available, it’s their ability to use the data that will help them stand out and offer unparalleled employee and customer experience.

To achieve this, Irving provides three important considerations:

  1. Put people first.

In order to thrive in the new normal, restaurant owners should prioritise the safety of both their customers and employees without sacrificing customer service. Looking at the data – both from their restaurants and within the industry – will help point them in the right direction.

For instance, restaurants can use data from surveys, industry reports, and other data services to understand how customers view safety and hygiene in the new normal. Restaurant owners can combine these insights with data from their technology solutions to further understand how customers are ordering and identify emerging options and needs.

“Customer experience is really important. QSRs should consider further doubling down on contactless type solutions where the customer has options to order their food and get their food delivered in different ways,” Irving said.

  1. Hire the right talent.

In the last year, restaurants have realised the importance of recruiting the right people who truly understand how to work with raw information and make it useful for their business.

Irving said that restaurants are getting immensely better at the game, especially in the US, where restaurants like Chick-Fil-A have formed a dedicated data analytics team that works with Fingermark to identify actionable insights for management.

However, these insights cannot be generated overnight. Irving stressed that useful data comes from QSRs that have used technology consistently within a specific trading period.

Fingermark has also made it possible for smaller QSRs to have access to data analysts and specialists, who crunch the numbers for their restaurants and provide meaningful insights.

  1. Think several steps ahead.

Future-proofing QSRs is not an easy task. Fingermark works with its clients to identify long-term opportunities and integrate it with the direction that restaurant owners wish to take.

According to Irving, it’s important not to get stuck with any particular technology set, but it’s also important to partner with innovative companies such as Fingermark to help move ideas and innovations forward.

“We’ve always wanted to be the most innovative company in the QSR industry and as such, we always want to challenge ourselves. We always think a few steps ahead and have a few tricks up our sleeves. We’ve got a suite of products now that help unlock the value of data for restaurants. This is what we've got now, but we always think where else can we help, and, what's the opportunity? We know how to build technology very well, and we've proven that,” he added.


It’s not news that data-driven restaurants report better margins, higher customer satisfaction, and increased employee retention compared to their competitors. The question is: Will restaurants go beyond installing technology and actually spend the resources needed to probe deeper into the data?

Watch the full interview here:


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