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New Ideas in Fast Food, CDR, QSR, Cafe and other Casual Restaurants

This PSFK guide is a digital transformation report uncovers the elevated services, platforms, and solutions that are changing the restaurant industry landscape and reshaping the diner journey.

Executive Summary

Digitally driven sales and delivery enabled the survival of restaurants during the pandemic, and these new capabilities were powered by cutting edge technology like AI, robotics, customer intelligence platforms plus innovative fulfillment and last-mile delivery solutions. These systems have reshaped the industry landscape and created new opportunities for restaurants to win loyalty and differentiate.

What You’ll Learn In This Report

  • Why the ability to leverage data from vast troves of digital order histories has allowed restaurants to reshape and enhance the consumer experience by providing more customizable and tailored options.
  • How the transition to a digital-first economy is providing restaurants with new opportunities to activate the consumer’s path to purchase.
  • Fueled by the prevalence of at-home dining, how an entirely new ecosystem of virtual restaurant brands with no brick-and-mortar footprint has arisen, powered by ghost kitchens and third-party delivery apps and promoted through a growing influencer marketplace.
  • Why digital-first practices of today’s consumer have also given rise to greater flexibility, transparency, and speed regarding restaurants’ end-to-end fulfillment practices,
  • As restaurants learn more about their consumers, how consumers are also learning more about restaurants’ own business practices and policies, examining closely how they contribute to larger societal issues like climate change, and making dining decisions based on a wider variety of factors than just personal preference and short-term wants.

What’s In This Report?

The restaurant, cafe and food service industry has witnessed a rapid adoption of contactless, mobile-first, and automated digital omnichannel experiences as the consumer dining journey underwent a decade’s worth of recalibration in just a single calendar year. To help our members better understand the ways in which restaurants are innovating to provide superior customer experience, the PSFK iQ research team has identified 9 key trends that highlight innovative ways in which technology and transparency are being utilized to strengthen bonds.

This food service innovation report includes:

  • 9 trends bringing to life new opportunities in restaurant CX
  • 31 best-in-class examples from organizations leading the way through innovation
  • Consumer insights around delivering value through elevated services, hyper convenience and curated recommendations

Who Prepared This Report?

This food service innovation report was developed by the same PSFK research department that since 2004 has provided trends-led innovation consulting advice to Apple, BMW, Facebook/Meta, Google, Microsoft, Samsung and Volkswagen.