• Sunday , 28 November 2021

Where is the Fast Food Industry Heading?

Today is National Fast Food Day! But where did it all start and what impact has AV technology had.

In 1921 the first hamburger chain “White Castle” was opened in the United States. White Castle was opened by co-owners Billy Ingram and Walter Anderson, who opened their first restaurant in Wichita in 1916. They operated a small menu that had cheap hamburgers and sold them in large numbers.

In 1948 the McDonald brothers opened their first fast-food restaurant, and McDonald’s was born! Others soon followed, with Burger King and Taco Bell opening in the 1950s and Wendy’s in 1969.

The fast-food industry has gone through many changes over the past 60 years, more recently, we have seen a move away from “Fast Food” to the “Quick Service” restaurants model where the quality of food isn’t compromised, but the service is faster than a traditional restaurant.

These Quick Service Restaurants (QRS) can maintain and sell a high-quality product within a short service timeframe by implementing technology that allows servers to take orders faster and deal with customer transactions efficiently.

In the early 2000s digital menu boards started to appear in both fast food and quick service restaurants. Initially they were seen as too expensive but as technology has improved and the price of LED screens has reduced, they have become a staple in these restaurants. Digital menu boards are now seen as a key element to ensuring customers are served quickly, along with digital signage that informs customers of waiting times, special offers or when their food is ready for collection.

Touchscreen ordering kiosks became popular in the 2010’s with the likes of McDonalds rolling them out to all their stores in 2015. These touchscreens have revolutionised the quick service industry because of their accuracy. The software in the touch screen system ensures that food items will not be over- or under-ordered through the supply chain, avoiding spoilage and shortfalls. They also collect data on various sales, ordering and delivery information which helps ensure the smooth running of these stores and supports the businesses desire to be more sustainable,

During the pandemic fast food and QRS’s yet again had to make rapid changes with many now offering curb side collection for services like Deliveroo and JustEat as well as ordering through apps making them even quicker for the customer. Digital signage has played a critical part in these developments offering wayfinding and delivery information to customers aswell as re-inforcing social distancing and safety messages.

By Mark Childerhouse | Sales Director | Pioneer Group

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