For those outside the industry, the McDonald’s all-day breakfast was a response to customer demand. Only half true.  It also represented an attempt by the fast food giant to get customers back.

Many chains had to raise prices aggressively in 2014, after commodity costs increased and fluctuated the previous year. Between McDonald’s, Subway, Wendy’s, KFC, and Burger King, the largest single-year growth in system-wide sales, in either 2013 or 2014, was 1.75%. McDonald’s traffic actually declined 9%.  Those costs have since normalized and QSR brands are now aggressively trying to recover customers.

Much of the QSR traffic shifted to non-restaurant players, like C-store chains.  Some saw their foodservice sales grow at least 3.75% in 2013 and 2014.

Another segment of traffic went to fast-casual and casual restaurants.  It doesn’t take much to convince some QSR customers that, for slightly more money, they can get better quality and a better experience.  Once you get them across the price-point barrier, the food quality speaks for itself.

As the QSR segment battles for customers, here are some tips on how other restaurants can compete:

  • The biggest draw for QSR customers is the convenience and speed of their dining experience. Offering online ordering, with the convenience and control it provides customers, is the perfect response for any non-QSR restaurant.
  • Go a step further. Evaluate options such as curbside service so your customers don’t have to get out of the car to get their food.
  • Emphasize your higher quality menu options, and that the price is not much more.
  • Aggressive messaging, which you can quickly do using your NetWaiter Broadcast Hub, will help distribute your message across the internet to thousands of customers.

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