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Consumer Trends

3 restaurant trends getting more gas

Tech integration by restaurants is moving at full force as the industry enters the fall. Operators are using different functionality—particularly mobile advancements—to give customers what they want. The upshot is more convenience for the guest, but some challenges on the back end for operators. But restaurants are realizing they don’t have the luxury of waiting for peers to smooth out the processes, given how quickly the trends are reshaping the business.

QSRs flock to mobile ordering

In late July, Burger King, Firehouse Subs and Subway all inked deals with third-party payment partners to add mobile pay to their apps. It has paid off for Panera Bread; CEO Ron Shaich said his charge enjoys a larger percentage of high-margin digital sales than any other concept outside the pizza segment.

Push for transparent wait times

A full 85 percent of consumers say they wish they could learn the wait time for a table before heading to a restaurant, found a consumer study conducted by OpenTable. Another 83 percent wish they could put their name on the list remotely.

The danger of ‘throttling’

It’s a term gaining use among IT and operations folks to describe the kitchen bottleneck caused by the climb in digital orders. Most kitchens are built to handle a certain number of tickets at peak times. Smartphone apps and online ordering are pushing volumes past that threshold, taxing back of house. Order-taking software must be “smart” enough to compute when additional orders will be ready—or if no more can be accommodated. Otherwise a kitchen will be throttled with too many orders coming in, putting cooks in the weeds and upsetting guests.
 

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