In today's hyper-competitive marketplace, quick-serve restaurants are some of the most dynamic and fast-growing restaurants in the food service industry. Big-name quick-service restaurants include household name brands that have found a home in the hearts of consumers at home and abroad – including McDonald's, Burger King and KFC.
The Secret Sauce
What do these quick-serve restaurants know that others don't? How did they get so big, so fast and so popular? What's the "secret sauce" of their success? To help you succeed as a quick-service restaurant, we've compiled these quick-serve restaurant management tips and are "dishing" those up to you here.
#1 - Focus on Food Quality
Over the last several years, quick-serve restaurants have seen a shift from consumers worrying less about calorie count and more about food and beverages that are "clean," "raised responsibly," and "nutrient rich" – to quote Panera Bread. Another buzzword is "plant-based." People still want to pig out – only they want to feel their food has ethical origins and thus is high-quality.
#2 - Offer Order Ahead Options
Customers today have less patient then they had in yesteryear. They want their food of ethical origins, and they want it fast. That's why they love to order ahead – and pay ahead, too – on their phone using your app or mobile responsive website. Give them that option.
That's what Panera Bread started doing. Now, seventy-five percent of Panera's digital orders are made by customers using a mobile device. Panera customers can place orders at their tables, which will be hand-delivered to them, or food for pickup, which will be placed on the local store's "Rapid Pick Up" shelf.
#3 - Monitor Key Metrics
To be successful in the quick-serve restaurant business, you need to keep an eye on your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as the sales per labor hour metric.
According to the NRA, for quick-service restaurants, the median sales per employee is $45.33 per hour or $68,571 per year. How does your quick-serve restaurant's metric compare to that average? Is it better or worse? Use benchmarks like these to see how your restaurant stacks up.
If your restaurant has table service, another metric to watch is average cover, which tracks which servers sell more to each table and have higher average covers. Remember that your staff members directly contribute to your bottom line through upselling.
#4 - Track Your Menu with Data
Do you have a data-driven strategy in determining which menu items sell the most, which are hidden gems, and which are under-performers? By tracking your order history and menu analytics, you can figure out which menu items drive repeat orders, larger check sizes, and even more visits to your stores.
#5 - Use Smart Design
When designing the store layout of your multi-site restaurants, be sure to incorporate solid-state LED lighting into your blueprints. The quick-serve restaurant industry is already seeing this tactic being employed by brands such as Wendy's and Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza, both of which recently announced new store design with energy-efficient LED lighting.
If you're wondering what's ahead in the quick-serve restaurant industry, here's a big tip from us at MultiSite LED: Convert to LED lighting. Because of its superior color, heightened aesthetic and visual acuity, LED lighting provides quick-serve restaurants with more ways to attract customers into their stores, enhance the dining experience and increase sales.
Converting to LED lighting also saves you money in the long run due to reduced energy and maintenance costs. Because of its solid-state technology, LED lighting is more energy-efficient, resulting in a significant cost savings.
LED lighting also lasts much longer than old-fashioned types of commercial lighting. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that LED lighting uses at least 75% less energy and lasts 25 times longer than other types of lighting.