Changes are coming as operators look to exceed customer expectations

As the foodservice industry’s recovery continues, many QSRs are making operational changes to address diner demand, foster loyalty, and keep customers coming back. With such fierce competition, restaurants are stepping up their game, working to improve service and boost the customer experience.

McDonald’s recently announced that they plan to remove their automatic drink machines by 2032. This means that guests will no longer serve their own beverages, and while refills will still be available, guests will need to ask an employee for that service. According to their statement, McDonald’s has based this decision on the “desire to provide customers with a consistent experience across all order points, whether that’s McDelivery, the app, kiosk, drive-thru or restaurant.”

Delivery is also shifting as the demand for off-premise dining remains high. Third-party delivery companies are looking for new, creative ways to better serve customers and up revenues. Uber Eats has made it easier for customers to order from two restaurants at once, which may make them more appealing for families and groups wanting to order together from separate vendors. Alternatively,  GrubHub is partnering with hotels to help make it easy and accessible for travelling guests to order food to their rooms.

Late-night is making a comeback, and more and more QSRs are trying to capitalize on that growing market. Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and Pizza Hut have all extended their hours, some adding design features like walk-up windows to improve service and better manage drive-thru traffic.

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As we head into 2024, operators will be challenged to provide experiences that go above and beyond. According to Brad Lancaster, CEO of Restaurant Supply Store, “This trend is driven by evolving customer expectations for novelty and personalization. Businesses, will need to think creatively about how they can create immersive, unique, and satisfying experiences for their customers.” By taking a proactive approach to understanding and anticipating customer needs and preferences, restaurateurs can create more engaging, personalized experiences that help to build loyalty and drive repeat business.

The competition is fierce as the foodservice industry’s recovery continues, with many QSRs adjusting their operations an making changes to provide a better experience, stand out from the rest, and make the most of their margins.