Delivering the Future

Preparing Today to Handle the Delivery Craze of Tomorrow

The first quick service restaurant didn’t have a drive thru. In fact, it would take more than 20 years for the traditional drive thru to enter the world of QSRs. And the QSR brand often associated with the drive thru, McDonald’s, was in business for more than 30 years before introducing the drive thru.

For QSRs, the drive thru was a response to cultural changes, including the growing travel and future-focused culture in the U.S. after World War II. It was also another avenue for fulfilling the foundational promises of QSRs: speed and convenience.

Delivery is no different. As the digital age continues to transform consumer preferences and expectations, delivery can be considered a natural extension of the QSR model.

But consumer preferences are always changing, which is leading QSR and fast casual brands to ask the million (or billion) dollar question: if demand for delivery continues to grow, how do you prepare now to handle the significant challenges that come with delivering your food directly to customers?

Let’s examine some of those challenges and how technology can help you give every guest a great experience in every channel.

Receiving and Prioritizing Omni-Channel Orders

The key to fulfilling the delivery demands of today and the future starts with your point of sale. Even today, with delivery still representing a small percentage of sales for quick service and fast casual restaurants, the process of receiving delivery orders on a separate tablet and then entering that order into the point of sale increases the likelihood of errors and unnecessary delays. And as consumer demand increases, this repetitive process could soon prove unsustainable.

The answer to this challenge is an omni-channel point of sale platform with an open API that can receive orders directly from every channel, including delivery. With this system in place, your crew won’t need to enter orders a second time and risk not labeling an order for delivery.

Receiving orders from every channel is only the first step. In order to prioritize every order properly, the kitchen screens need to automatically prioritize the orders for your crew based on the channel.

And the kitchen crew need to know more than just the right order to prepare each ticket; they also need to know exactly which channel is used for each order to correctly prepare the meal. For example, if you want to provide different packaging for delivery orders, these orders must be clearly identified on the kitchen screen so your crew is setup for success.

Keeping Menus and Prices in Sync

For some QSRs and fast casuals, keeping the menus and prices in sync across hundreds of locations and updated to reflect current LTOs and promotions is an ongoing challenge. For brands working with third party delivery services, this adds another layer of complexity that could negatively affect the guest experience. If the menus in your stores are not synced with the menus displayed on the delivery services, guests could be ordering food that you’ve run out of and already removed from your menus. Or, if your menu boards and point of sale are in sync but the delivery service isn’t in the loop, guests could place orders for items that your crew can’t ring up in the point of sale because that item is off the menu.

More than anything, these challenges show the need for a complete restaurant technology ecosystem where the point of sale and menu boards can be managed from a secure online portal that can also be synced with the delivery service.

In addition to selecting a technology partner that provides this kind of platform, evaluate the capabilities of the delivery service to ensure they have the technological infrastructure in place to work with your technology partner.

Ensuring the Best Experience

When your menus are displayed to customers through third party delivery services, how do you handle images from your menu? There’s no question that the right images drive sales, but this presents another logistical challenge, especially for brands with large and evolving menus.

The best solution is to find a technology partner that is already equipped to manage a depository of images through experience with digital menu boards, kiosks, and mobile.

Your point of sale provider might have the platform for integration with the delivery service, but if the same provider isn’t equipped to manage the menus and images also, you’re missing a key piece to providing every guest a great experience when they order for delivery.

Upholding Your Brand Standards

As QSRs and fast casuals evaluate their investment in delivery, they must answer a critical question: how do you uphold your brand standards when offering a service that opens up room for errors?

The answer to this question, combined with how much the demand for delivery increases, will likely determine when and if brands bring this service in-house rather than outsourcing to a third party. If more brands bring this service in-house, the need for a complete technology ecosystem will be more important than ever.

Whether more brands decide to offer delivery on their own or strengthen the guest experience with third party services, a complete, future-ready technology suite will be essential to ensuring your delivery efforts are successful and every guest has a great experience.

SICOM Omni-Channel Platform

At SICOM, our omni-channel readiness extends far beyond the point of sale. With updated kitchen screens and order ready screens for digital pickup areas, the entire SICOM platform is prepared to handle every channel, today and in the future.

A True Omni-Channel Experience

Here are the top 10 reasons to select SICOM Encounter Point of Sale.  

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Jennifer Doan
September 25, 2018

As head of product management at SICOM, Jen is on the bleeding edge of restaurant innovation in practice, lending her expertise to help shape practical and powerful solutions for our customers.

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