By Eric Hoffman,
Senior vice president, ROAM
In 2013, there were more than 150,000 limited-service restaurants in the U.S. These eateries served more than 50 million people each day and generated more than $100 billion in revenue annually. Not surprisingly, customer loyalty to these restaurants is fluid, and factors such as wait time significantly influence the opinion of diners who typically have only 20 minutes to order and eat.
In fact, speed is the No. 2 reason for choosing a QSR (price is number one).
Recently, the world's largest restaurant franchise recognized that speed of service is critically important to its customers; so important that customers value the time spent waiting in line as being worth $40 an hour — and overestimate the actual wait by about 36 percent. This brand also understood that reducing wait time by just 7 seconds would equate to a 3-percent increase in market share.
To ensure better customer service, the QSR integrated mobile POS (mPOS) capabilities into its business model, and mPOS is now available for use by most of its franchisees. mPOS not only helps shorten lines through line-busting, but for this specific chain, it also helps assure business continuity to prevent sales loss when there are system service interruptions or weather-related power outages that can result in lost revenue and customer dissatisfaction if a restaurant's fixed POS terminals go offline.
The QSR also leverages mPOS to expand into new markets and develop additional revenue sources beyond its existing brick-and-mortar locations, including pop-up stores and kiosks at fundraisers and other special events, and catering services, which promise twice as much profit as generated with in-store purchases. In these instances, mPOS allows a franchisee to go to the customer, in an environment where heavy foot traffic equals revenue.
Other QSRs can benefit from mPOS line-busting capabilities or by integrating mPOS with inventory management and customer loyalty or engagement programs, tracking transaction history, serving offers and other promotions, dynamically adjusting pricing, and updating menus on the fly. In the U.S., food trucks or QSRs that offer delivery services can use mPOS to swipe cardholder data on the spot, reducing the cost of payment acceptance with card-present rates and decreasing the risk of incorrect data entry or misuse of card information as they boost their customers' feelings of security.
QSRs shouldn't underestimate the impact customer confidence has on customer loyalty — or the impression the availability of a mPOS makes on the typical 25- to 34-year-old QSR shopper: these tech-savvy consumers see value when the technology that is so prevalent in other parts of their lives is incorporated into their dining experiences. Thirty percent of these QSR diners have already checked the menu online and one-third of them would be interested in ordering via mobile if the option were available. In fact, 97 percent of Americans say they're ready to turn to self-service technology to speed up transactions.
For QSR executives, who are equally interested in improving efficiency and controlling costs, smartphone- and tablet-based mPOS is a highly customizable and very cost effective way to extend a restaurant's existing POS infrastructure. Leveraging mPOS delivered via an end-to-end platform provides the best of all worlds: the functionality of a fixed POS solution in a flexible, scalable form, delivered at a very competitive price point.