The labor shortage, a facet of the post-pandemic economy, hurt the restaurant industry across verticals as more businesses were forced to close their doors to account for the lack of employees. However, restaurants that embraced self-ordering technology fared better throughout the pandemic, as self-ordering technology positively impacted revenue, franchising, and restaurant design.
This is evidenced by top QSRs that meet consumers where they want to order– be it online, at a kiosk, or using a tableside QR code. Franchises are increasingly relying on technology to automate operations and drive business success in their restaurants. Incorporating technology, such as the Samsung kiosk powered by GRUBBRR, digital menu boards, and online ordering into your restaurant design can have numerous long-term benefits.
Bhavin Asher, founder and CTO of GRUBBRR, a leading self-ordering technologies company, explained, “the pandemic made it clear that the restaurants with automation are most poised to stay open because they meet consumers where they want to order. With demand for omnichannel dining increasing, the restaurants that integrate their physical and digital channels will perform best.”
Based on an analysis of several restaurant brands’ Q4 earnings reports, it is clear that automation is the key to long-term success. Chipotle’s Q4 earnings and 2021 results demonstrate this point. The results for the full year 2021 show that digital sales grew 24.7% to $3.4 billion and represented 45.6% of total sales.
In other words, about half of all orders at Chipotle were from order ahead digital transactions, and as such the brand has focused their efforts on growing this segment of the business. This showcases that the industry shift towards digitization directly results in increased sales and revenue. QSR’s like Chipotle are benefitting from new technologies and digitization, and this trend is not new within the restaurant industry.
Chipotle Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian Niccol credits the use of automation for his company’s success. “Moving forward, we believe expanding access and convenience through our digital ecosystem, accelerating unit growth, and continuing to develop and support our restaurant employees, will put us in a much stronger competitive position,” Niccol said.
Chipotle has also changed its business model to focus more on drive-thrus. It estimates that greater than 80% of new restaurants will have a “Chipotlane,” including their 3,000th restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona. Chipotlanes offer higher revenue margins than a traditional Chipotle make-line and dining room. Consumers spend on average 12%-20% more when they order with their eyes and with touch from a self-ordering device than when ordering from a cashier.
For franchisors looking to expand, technology presents a unique opportunity to entice franchisees and strengthen the brand image. One of the first and most obvious benefits of implementing technology, such as the Samsung kiosk powered by GRUBBRR, for franchisors is strengthening the restaurant brand. In a world that is becoming increasingly digital, consumers are likely to experience your brand through digital touchpoints before setting foot in a physical location. And, when they do experience your brand at a physical location, it is imperative that the experience is similar to that of your digital brand.
Consistency is key to developing the brand and building a customer base when establishing a restaurant. Your loyal customers trust your brand and expect a high level of consistency and customer experience no matter which location they visit. By introducing new Samsung kiosk technology at one franchise location, you’re implicitly promising that they can enjoy it at every location.
The Samsung kiosk powered by GRUBBRR allows restaurants to streamline efficiency, leading to a reduction in average transaction time. By rolling out this technology across locations, franchisees are set up for success, as self-ordering technology is proven to increase revenue, decrease operating costs (including labor spending), and improve the customer experience.
For instance, the average cost of a cashier at a quick service restaurant that is open 15 hours per day. With all associated carrying costs, this position will cost more than $6,000 per month. On the other hand, the Samsung kiosk powered by GRUBBRR is a fraction of that price. In addition, kiosks always show up, don’t call in sick, and are ready to work 24/7.
Improve Restaurant Design
Like many chains, Shake Shack’s Q4 earnings success demonstrated an opening of the digital funnel. Shake Shack’s willingness to abandon its traditional business model and embrace technology, including multi-channel delivery, enhanced digital pre-ordering, and expanding fulfillment capabilities, enabled digital sales to grow at a rapid rate.
Shake Shack’s latest innovation, “Shack Track,” is a tech-forward restaurant that centers on pick-up shelves, windows, and curbside. “The need to enhance and alter the physical restaurant to meet the needs of digital is so important to Shake Shack that today, nearly all new restaurants we open have some aspect of Shack Track,” said CFO Katie Fogertey.
For Shake Shack, the results of embracing technology are astounding. In one example, Shake Shack units with self-ordering kiosks saw 75% of sales come through that channel as well as digital. “We have had to be and will continue to be strategic with our investments, but most importantly, we will continue to invest in digital initiatives to help welcome more guests into our omnichannel,” Fogertey said.
Restaurants that embraced self-ordering technology fared better throughout the pandemic, as self-ordering technology positively impacted revenue, franchising, and restaurant design.
“Technology, and specifically self-automated technology that meets the customers at the point of sale, has been a major boon for many restaurants since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Asher. “Now, we see the positive effects of technology reflected in new restaurant prototype designs, with many incorporating kiosks, online ordering, and tableside. That is why GRUBBRR partners with tech-forward companies like Samsung to help restaurants to create a customer experience design of the future.”
This post is sponsored by GRUBBRR. To learn more about Samsung’s self-ordering kiosks powered by GRUBBRR, click here.