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MONEY MATTERS

Improved Communication is key to Sustainable Growth in Quick Service

A

fter initial declines at the start of lockdown the

of the future. So how can operators ensure all orders are

takeaway market returned to, and in the first

taken and fulfilled accurately and efficiently, across the

two weeks of July exceeded, its pre-COVID high,

entire estate, while keeping both customers and staff

according to a recent report from the Agriculture and

members safe?

Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). This is largely

From optimising accuracy and efficiency at the point

driven by substantial growth in collected and drive-thru

of order and point of delivery, to enabling retailers to

orders, which account for the majority of takeaways.

maximise the increasing number of digital ordering

And, despite the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic

channels - including mobile apps; touch screen table

has had on the quick service industry, with fundamental

service; and third party websites - communication within

changes in consumer behaviour, supply chain disruption

and throughout the entire estate is fundamental to an

and continued social distancing measures, many operators

efficient and profitable operation.

have thrived under the circumstances.

As every restaurant owner knows, the clearer you can

These changes have driven greater innovation, as

hear the customer, the more accurate and quicker the order

operators have rapidly adapted, allowing consumers to dine

preparation process is and the less waste there is. The

in, take out, order via a food delivery or ordering app, or

speedier the execution, the better the customer experience.

use drive-thru and curbside service. And, as Tom Downes,

The latest generation of communication hardware,

CEO, Quail Digital, explains, at the heart of this innovation

such as digital, multi-channel headsets, enable new

and sustained growth lies improved communication across

levels of agility and flexibility with the addition of a third

all aspects of business operations.

communication channel for single and dual lane drivethru, curbside ordering and in-restaurant table service, all

Digital Transformation With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic came the realisation that years of transformative investments in

from the same headset, with a range that covers kitchen, seating on two floors, drive-thru lanes, drive-to bays and parking lot.

technology could rapidly come to maturity, keeping pace

Moreover, they will come with advanced noise cancelling

with the fundamental shifts in consumer behaviour at

technology, which maps and removes all the constant

the drive-thru, operations and delivery. From cloud-based

noise it hears, such as traffic and weather, leaving just

software and communication platforms that streamline

voices. This allows for improved intelligibility by creating

ordering, payments and inventory, to curated experiences

a decibel level of closer to 60 in the headset of the order

as guests drive up, digital technologies have enabled the

taker, which is around the level we experience with face to

industry to embrace remote ordering and – in some cases –

face conversation.

delivery – as well as adhere to social distancing measures, almost overnight.

Conclusion

While these technologies are facilitating the shift in

The last six months have demonstrated how quickly

how consumers dine, they’re also allowing us to rethink

consumer behaviours can adapt and change. They have

nearly every other aspect of the quick service trade. From

also demonstrated how quickly the quick service industry

outdoor dining to curbside pickup, innovative operators

has embraced innovation to evolve in line with consumer

are rethinking their real estate options; re-imagining how

demand. As the industry works through the remaining

customers navigate lines, with new and creative app-

challenges of 2020 (and beyond), the restaurant business

based, kiosk and tableside ordering / pickup options. The

model, consumer habits, and our definition of ‘normal’ will

physical space is being reinvented to meet the changing

have changed, probably permanently.

needs of consumers that may want faster, more touchless options and less face-to-face interactions.

While innovation continues to take place in many ways, what has remained constant is the fact that clear and accurate communication sits at the heart of the customer

Accurate & Clear Communication

experience. Digitisation and modernisation of quick

With so many companies thriving with drive thru and

service communications can help to make every second

curbside conversions, this could well be the retail model

count, across all aspects of business operations.

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Fastfood Professional • October and November 2020

October and November 2020 • Fastfood Professional

48