[Report] Consumers Embrace (Some) QSR & Fast Casual Tech

Restaurant-goers are encountering more technology when they visit fast casual and quick serve restaurants (QSRs), and they like what they’re seeing.

Bypass, PYMNTS and Bank of America Merchant Services have previously indexed the innovators in restaurant tech in our Restaurant Readiness Index, and for our third edition, we turned our eyes on the guest experience. Examining how geography, demographics and other factors impact digital innovations’ availability and consumers’ attitudes toward them, we surveyed more than 5,000 consumers. We asked them how often, where and why they visited QSRs, as well as their engagement with a wide range of digital services and other innovations.

Technology’s been woven into the fabric of the QSR industry for decades, like McDonald’s pioneering Speedee Service System and milkshake Multimixer for truly fast food. And while the technology’s gotten much more advanced, customers care about the same things: 60 percent of consumers cite convenience and speed as the main reason they embrace new technologies.

“Consumer expectations were set outside of QSR when it comes to digital,” Carissa Ganelli, Subway’s Chief Digital Officer noted in the report. “The reason why it spilled over into QSR is because consumers expected to have one-click purchasing like Amazon, the ability to swipe left or swipe right like a Tinder, a robust loyalty program like a Sephora.”

Download the Full QSR & Fast Casual Consumer Tech Preferences Report

Of course, adoption of new restaurant technology is varied, and so is awareness. For example, while 67 percent of customers who visited a QSR/fast casual recently used a loyalty program, 50 percent didn’t know if the one they most recently visited even had a program. And while we’ve found growth in the availability of some technologies, consumers have yet to warm up to things like self-service kiosks, which are only used by 13 percent of consumers. However, when we take a visitors of a specific restaurant, those numbers can vary drastically; 40 percent of Arby’s guests, for example, reported using a kiosk recently.

What we found overall though was that customers are clearly eager for innovation. The question remains whether innovators can muster the will — and the capital — to make the necessary investments.

Click below to download the full PYMNTS report and learn:

  • When exposure to tech makes consumers more likely to make purchases at innovative locations

  • At which chains consumers use new technologies most

  • How Subway seeks to innovate through reworking kiosks, loyalty and mobile

  • The technology customers are most—and least—enthusiastic about, and why