How IoT for QSR is Creating Restaurants of the Future

Posted On: May 30, 2018

IoT is the technology of the future that has found its way into the present. Back in 1982, researchers from the Carnegie Mellon university modified a Coke refrigerator and hacked it to the Internet. It was capable of reporting its inventory and whether its contents were cold or not. However, IoT has only just begun to breach the surface and become a commercially viable technology.

Combined with technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, The Internet of Things as its called has been a huge game changer for business. For the uninitiated, it is a technology that enables devices to be connected to the internet and communicate with other electronic systems.

Early Enterprise IoT systems were envisioned for use in the Supply Chain & Logistics industry. Using RFID technology, IoT systems were put in place to automate several recurring tasks that are a major part of Supply Chain management and Logistics operations. Having proved their efficiency in this field over manual systems, even the naysayers of IoT platforms have been forced to rethink their outlook on the viability of such systems.

There is another industry that has a massive scope for performance optimization, and the time is just right for IoT systems to lead the way. IoT for QSR is revolutionizing the way restaurant owners conduct their business. In the QSR business (Quick Service Restaurant), time is everything. QSRs the world over are looking to provide an enhanced user experience by integrating technology with their business. You go to a fast-food restaurant today and chances are, you will be greeted by a row of screens. These changes haven’t happened overnight, but are a result of evolution. The evolution of technology, and the evolution of the end user.


Why Do You Require IoT in QSR?

For restaurants to evolve, understanding the next-generation customer is critical Deloitte. Today’s consumer is hyper-evolved and hyper-connected. They have access to multiple devices, fast internet services and affordable and powerful smartphone devices. They are increasingly turning towards search to expand their own knowledge base that helps them take informed decisions. They are used to instant gratification, and making them wait for a service or product will automatically translate into a bad user experience. The result? They will waste no time in moving to your competitor. Building loyalty is no longer the same process, but requires a brand to regularly deliver a better user experience faster than anybody else.

So, how are QSR brands dealing with this phenomenon? By embracing IoT platforms that can help restaurants enhance their dining experience in a completely new way.


How Top QSR Brands are using IoT technology

Starbucks is one of the flag bearers of this technology. Their mobile payments app has revolutionized the coffee shop experience. They allow users to identify a Starbucks outlet closest to their location, and users can then pay for their beverage/food in advance. Then, the user just has to head to the location and his order will be ready and waiting at the store. Starbucks has revolutionized the concept of a ‘connected kitchen’, bringing several appliances like coffee makers, refrigerators, cold storage systems and lighting equipment under the IoT fold. It allows Baristas to find out when the products in a fridge have spoiled, or it lets the coffee makers make personalized cups of coffee automatically upon receiving an order.

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Similarly, McDonalds has set up big screens in their stores that are fully capable of taking an order. You go up, choose your order from the screen, customize it according to your preferences and make a payment with an integrated payment system. Upon successful payment, the system generates a token number. Just wait for your token number to get generated on the screen and go pick up your food. Zero involvement of human staff at the frontline.

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These are a few examples that explain how the big guns are using IoT powered systems to enhance the restaurant experience for users. However, these are all the front end experiences. IoT in QSR can revolutionize your restaurant’s backend operations with intelligent systems in place powered by Cloud technology and Machine Learning Algorithms.


How Can IoT Revolutionize Customer Experience and Business Management

There are 2 critical aspects for a QSR business:

  1. Delivering Superior User Experience
  2. Managing day to day operations

A cloud-based IoT system can bring about an incremental improvement in the performance of all of them. Here’s How:

Delivering Superior User Experience

The customer is always the utmost priority, and it is important to enhance customer experience at all times, whether it is online or offline.

  • IoT systems use inter-connected intelligent sensors in the restaurant premise to monitor CO levels and temperature levels.
  • These systems can be configured for remote monitoring, letting the restaurant manager know the CO levels and temperature in the restaurant premises.
  • They can also be automated to always ensure an optimal CO level, and maintain a preferred temperature level.
  • Using an array of smart cameras that are tied on a grid, you can always monitor the situation inside your restaurant at any given point of time.
  • Analyse the service quality of your frontline staff, and identify any deviation from SOP on the restaurant or shop floor.

Managing Day to Day Operations

This is the critical aspect of your business, and ensures whether you are making money or losing it. For QSRs, the effective management of multiple restaurants becomes difficult. How do you ensure the standardization of processes if you can’t be everywhere at the same time? Well, maybe now you can.

  • Using an array of sensors and cameras, IoT systems can set up an entire surveillance network in and around your restaurant dining area, kitchen and storage areas.
  • You can keep abreast of things with real-time video analytics and AI-based audits: monitoring the activities of your backend staff: whether they came on time, whether they are taking too much of time to do a particular task, whether they are skipping critical tasks etc.
  • This gives you real-time control over the operational aspect of your business. All you have to do is whip out your smartphone and analyse the operations from a live feed.
  • Real-time monitoring activities can be carried out at scale for multiple restaurants that might be a part of your QSR chain. For example: Carry out a footfall counting audit with ease using AI-based video audits.
  • You can identify activities that are hampering productivity and implement a solution to optimize processes that enhance operations.
  • You can control the energy consumption of your restaurant by monitoring the amount of power that is being consumed at all times. You can get notified of high power consumption with real-time alerts so that corrective action can be taken.
  • This can help optimise costs and power consumption by reducing wastage and allocating power resources to the right places at the right time.

The amalgamation of technology with multiple touchpoints at your QSR outlet will enhance both the front as well as backend operations effectively.


Key Takeaways

  • Cloud-based IoT platform and surveillance help to monitor all restaurant branches
  • IoT powered smart sensors help to control CO levels and the temperature in the restaurant vicinity. Environment management can be remotely controlled.
  • IoT systems can provide real-time data about business operations in the restaurant to identify gaps in productivity.
  • IoT systems can help control the power consumption and optimize the costs with intelligent sensors.


To add IoT on your restaurant’s ‘menu’ anytime soon, get in touch with us.

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