How QSR Chains are Leveraging Mobile Apps to Compete with Fast Casual

Photo courtesy of Wendy's

Photo courtesy of Wendy's

It’s no secret that quick-serve chains have struggled to retain customers who are now likely gravitating to healthier options.

But what do big quick-serve chains have that smaller fast casual brands may not? Massive funding.

Fast food chains are investing significantly in digital campaigns to compete with the new innovative restaurant concepts of today.

These chains know that they may not be able to compete in the healthier arena, but when it comes to other trends like online delivery and mobile apps they putting those marketing dollars to good use.

“According to data from Deloitte Digital, 40 percent of consumers prefer to order food online. When they place an order from a fast-food restaurant, they spend 26 percent more than they would have in-store, and diners spend 13 percent more when ordering from a fast-casual eatery. Another 40 percent of consumers polled said that they wanted to hear from a restaurant at least once a month, with 80 percent of people specifically interested in receiving discounts and special offers and another 34 percent looking for personalized messages,” writes “Adweek.”

Although customers are looking for discounts, most apps don’t offer coupons. Only 33 percent of apps offer on-going coupons, according to L2 Research.

Developing an app isn’t just a one-time project. It requires maintenance and improvements. While smaller brands often outsource the development of an app to a third-party company, chains with more capital can keep a team in house, which offers various benefits.

Wendy’s, for example, has the 90° Labs, where it’s internal team works on the fast food giant’s app and in-store ordering kiosks.

“it allows us to [work] quickly because people who work there understand Wendy’s inside and out,” said Kurt Kane, chief concept and marketing officer at Wendy’s to “Adweek.” “We don’t have to explain a lot along the way about why we want to do something—it allows us to be streamlined in those communications versus if you had to explain it to an outside partner.”

Read more about how QSRs are using mobile apps and on-demand delivery to stay competitive in today’s market at “Adweek.”