QSR Brands Can Leverage Technology to Genuinely Resonate with and Add Value to Guests’ Lives

In the wake of the pandemic, businesses across various sectors rapidly embraced digital experiences to adapt to the changing landscape. Among these industries, the quick service restaurant (QSR) sector stood at the forefront of this seismic shift. Forced to navigate restaurant closures and a surge in food delivery, QSRs swiftly implemented changes to their online ordering, delivery systems, and in-house experiences.

With the pandemic in the rearview mirror, it has become evident that customers have not only embraced these new technological advancements even as they have returned to dine on site, but also expect a more seamless physical and digital experience overall. They ask the question, “If I am able to do this online, why can’t I get the same experience when I walk into a restaurant?” 

QSRs are engaged in a competitive race to maintain a technological edge over their competitors, but it is vital for them to remember to prioritize adding real value to people's lives rather than solely pursuing tech for tech's sake.

One effective way to gauge how technology improves the overall experience is by prioritizing the needs and preferences of customers in the decision-making process. In order to achieve this, we need to take into consideration the following factors:


When it comes to implementing changes in technology, providing customers with a clear understanding of why these changes are happening brings numerous benefits. For example, businesses can prepare their customers for new ways of ordering, ensuring a seamless transition and preventing any potential confusion or inefficiencies that may arise when they adopt those changes.


The key to embedding in new behaviors is effectively communicating the impact that new technology brings in terms of efficiency, helping customers visualize the positive effects. For instance, customers may initially hesitate to download and use a new app, perceiving it as a barrier. However, highlighting the benefits, such as improved order quality and reduced waiting time, can empower customers to recognize its value.


One effective way to invite more customers to embrace new technologies and showcase a company's commitment to innovation is by demonstrating how people like them have already embraced these advancements to improve their experiences. This not only resonates with potential users but also highlights the company's investment in innovation. Additionally, actively seeking feedback during the creation and implementation of new technology can boost engagement and provide valuable insights. For example, Sweetgreen invited a select number of people to act as “mystery shoppers.” In exchange for an incentive, some Sweetgreen customers were asked to take photos of their experience in-store, and provided feedback via a short survey. This was repeated a few times to capture a variety of experiences. 

Brand First

To effectively communicate about technological changes, it is crucial to establish a strong connection between the communication and marketing team and the innovation and tech teams. This alignment ensures that the brand’s look, feel, personality, and tone of voice are incorporated to differentiate new experiences. For instance, when the user experience (UX) reflects the brand's ethos meaningfully, it creates a cohesive and consistent narrative that resonates with customers.

Culture and Community

Highlighting the positive impact of technological changes on local communications, employees, or the environment can not only drive adoption but also generate a positive perception of the company. When significant tech advancements lead to reduced waste or improved support for employees, it’s key to communicate these outcomes to customers. For example, Aldi is donating excess stock from their warehouse to the Community Shop Group in the UK. Grocery items that can no longer be sold in stores will be sold at a discount to help those on limited incomes and those in need. 

As the tech wars rage on, companies have the opportunity to prioritize their customers and deliver genuine value that enriches their lives. This requires a proactive approach and strategic actions to ensure customer-centric decision-making and, as a result, achieve long-term success in a highly competitive industry.