Quick-Service Restaurants: Moving Forward With Creativity

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Retail and hospitality companies have faced many challenges and suffered great losses in the pandemic, especially in the early months. Prolonged closures have caused bankruptcies and huge drops in revenue. But these disruptions have also sparked innovation, reinvention, and determination to push through and be better for it. 

One sector of the hospitality industry that’s a shining example of this is quick-service restaurants (QSRs). QSRs, or “fast casual” as they’re also known, adapted their business and operating models on the fly, and rethought how they served their customers to keep their doors open and be profitable. Let’s explore a few examples and the practical lessons they’re taking to the future. 

With some dining rooms forced to close overnight, QSRs quickly pivoted to focus on takeout and delivery, many through mobile ordering apps, contactless systems, and third-party applications. Similar to the effects on other industries, these rapid changes accelerated digital transformation by years in some cases. With no choice but to adapt to survive, QSRs accepted the challenge. 

Panera Bread is an example of creative thinking — it launched a coffee subscription service that offered unlimited coffee and tea for $8.99 a month. By October 2020, it had 500,000 paid subscribers.

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