Improving the Bottom Line Through Franchise Technology

March 14, 2024 First Franchise Capital

Franchise Technology

There’s no doubt about it. Competition in the quick-serve restaurant (QSR) industry is fierce. Adding to or updating the technology in your restaurant is a powerful way to get an edge on your competitors. Here’s a look at how we’re seeing customers update franchise technology to streamline operations, build customer engagement, and target marketing.

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Role of technology in streamlining operations

Point-of-sale systems have been a mainstay of franchise technology for years, but they can do even more when linked to other technologies, such as inventory management and kitchen automation.

Do you manage inventory through manual counts? That process can be time-consuming, thus costly. Employees spend an average of 19 hours per week per store on inventory-related tasks. For multi-unit franchisees, those costs can add up quickly. An inventory management program that’s coupled with the POS system can speed up the process and make on-the-fly changes to inventory based on sales at the counter. Integrating inventory management software with vendors’ ordering systems can streamline franchise operations even more by creating automatic orders when inventory falls below pre-set levels.

Automation in QSR kitchens is another franchise technology that is on the rise, thanks to the combined pressures of a shrinking labor pool and increasing minimum wage requirements. Once considered futuristic, robots in the kitchen are now revolutionizing fast-food operations.

Sweetgreen® is using robots in its new Infinite Kitchens to prepare salads, making 50% more than a traditional crew would in the same time. Similarly, Chipotle® is piloting a system that can make 180 bowls per hour, compared to 20 to 30 prepared by hand. With orders coming in directly from a kiosk or online platform to the automated prep robot, errors are reduced and customer satisfaction increases.


Enhancing customer engagement

It costs less to retain a customer than to bring in a new one. In the QSR industry, though, customer retention runs at only about 30%, meaning that 70% of your customers never return. That’s lost revenue, because repeat customers spend more than one-time visitors, and they refer others. Franchise technology can help you build retention by engaging your customers through streamlined ordering, hyper-targeted marketing, and loyalty programs.

It may seem counterintuitive that technology can enhance customer engagement, but used strategically, along with excellent customer service, it does. Restaurant customers value ease of ordering even above the speed of being served their food. Franchise technology that improves the experience of ordering, such as kiosks and digital menu boards, builds goodwill with customers when correctly used.

Customers don’t want technology to replace good personal service; they want technology to augment their dining experience. Linking easy-to-use ordering technology with friendly, helpful staff in-store provides the balance that customers want.

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Rise of digital marketing for franchise success

Consumer Data Platforms (CDPs) are a franchise technology game-changer for marketing to QSR customers. Using identifiers such as loyalty programs and coupons, CDPs make it possible to recognize repeat buying patterns from individual customers and send them targeted digital offers.

If a customer routinely picks up dinner for a family of four on a certain day of the week, they can be sent a text with a bonus offer (like a free drink or side) every week on that same day. Linking customer data with digital messaging allows precise and cost-effective marketing targeted to the specific buying patterns of individual customers.

Loyalty programs are a digital marketing tool proven to boost revenue. Among QSRs, loyalty members spend 6% more on an average check ($14.54 versus $13.71) than non-members.

Loyalty programs allow for hyper-targeted marketing. As an example, data has shown that most QSR loyalty members visit on Thursdays and Fridays. Yet, members redeem their loyalty points on other days of the week. Recognizing this customer behavior and sending marketing messages on the non-usual visit days can drive more business from existing customers.

→ 5 Steps to Bring Your Franchise Into A New Market


Despite the fact that franchise technology offers countless ways to improve the bottom line, fewer than 25% of QSR operators consider themselves “advanced” in their use of technology in their businesses. Investing the time to make the most of these high-tech tools can pay big dividends. If financing a franchise technology upgrade is holding you back, First Franchise Capital can help. Our team of franchise finance lenders are experienced in working with QSR operators and can help you find the financing solution you need. We can craft a franchise line of credit, a franchise equipment loan, or many other financing options to help move your business to the next level.


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