9 QSR growth tips from Salsa Shop, Cornish Fish & Chips, and Supersonic

Industry trends, Latest from Vita Mojo

June 17, 2024

We’re joined by three industry experts who share their tips and insights into unlocking QSR growth.

QSRs are still facing a number of challenges that can harm their potential to grow. 

Despite there being reasons to stay positive about the industry’s future, operators are continuing to face increased energy costs, rising cost of goods, and customer habits dictated by a cost of living crisis – not to mention ongoing labour issues. 

But there are ways to solve these challenges that will equip your operation with the flexibility and robustness it needs to grow, even during difficult economic headwinds. 

We were joined by three experts from the industry to discuss how QSR brands can tackle these challenges, and the part tech plays in overcoming them and unlocking growth.

On the QSR growth panel

Mark McCulloch

Chief Executive of Supersonic, a consultancy focused on helping hospitality operators level up, from branding and digitalization to employee engagement. He’s also known for running the Supersonic hospitality podcast. 

Logan Fraser

Logan Fraser is Commercial Manager at Cornish Fish and Chips. They’re known for their commitment to quality and only using the freshest ingredients, and are also now recognised by the National Fish and Chip Awards. 

Alex Jerejian

Alex is Chief Operational Officer at Salsa Shop, a rapidly expanding Mexican QSR chain based in the Netherlands, founded with a mission to bring authentic Mexican flavours to neighbourhoods across the continent. 

1. Don’t let fear stop you from acting

First of all: don’t be scared. The thing I see in operators, they’re scared of change.

They fear getting out of their comfort zone and trying a new thing.

And it’s not going to be perfect from the get-go. That’s something that operators sometimes don’t understand. They usually think they’re going to buy a programme, and it’s going to be – from the get-go – 100% custom-made for their brand.

It doesn’t work like that. There’s the basic tools that are there, and then you’re going to work to develop it to get where you want to be.

Alexander Jerejian
COO at Salsa Shop

2. Deliver what the customer actually wants

Tech is very simple: just make it easy for the customer, in the way that they want to do it. 

Hospitality certainly used to be run by older gentlemen who were in a certain mindset, and they would put their wants and needs before the customer. They would say things like, “Oh, apps. I’m glad that’s gone. Order at the table? I don’t like that because hospitality is all about humans.”  

Well, research shows that 65% of customers would visit a restaurant more often if they offered self-service. 30% of customers said they prefer to order from a touchscreen.

That blows that out of the water. So it’s never about you: it’s about the customer.”

Mark McCulloch
Chief Executive of Supersonic

Get more QSR growth tips from the pros...

Our Hospitality Technology Buyer’s Guide is full of insights from QSR operators who are using tech to grow, along with:

  • Step-by-step guides on understanding your tech setup and business goals
  • Over 40 questions to ask potential tech vendors
  • A vendor scorecard to help you compare different providers
  • Quotes and insights from industry experts

3. Focus on convenience and speed of service

Convenience is king.

If customers want fish and chips delivered to their house, it’s quite a high price in comparison to coming into the shop. But they are more than happy to do that.

And we’ve seen huge efficiencies with the kiosks. Especially in our summer months when we have queues out the doors.

I think it’s probably my favourite piece of tech. Just the efficiencies for our team and our customers, the speed the orders can come out if someone’s not taking orders at the till.

Logan Fraser
Commercial Manager at Cornish Fish and Chips

4. Unlock data and QSR growth potential by using a single tech partner

It’s a closed loop. You have everything in one circle. For example, you have your loyalty, kiosk, Click and Collect, and delivery, all in the same pocket, and that helps a lot to get faster data than before. 

On a daily basis, we used to spend on average – per location and per manager – two hours filling in numbers, and doing things in an excel sheet, which also includes human error. But when you have a closed circle that will eliminate the error margin, it will lower it down.

If you don’t have your systems in one consolidated, space, you have to build integrations, maintain them. So it takes you a lot of time and effort to set up a new restaurant.

But if you have one provider who has everything for you, then it’s a lot easier for you just to copy and paste all the settings to maintain it and to move forward.

And that’s why it’s important.

Alexander Jerejian
COO at Salsa Shop

5. See tech as a long term investment

Investing in kiosks means you make a saving longer term. 

And it’s not about tech taking jobs. I’ve just come off the back of doing Hospitality Rising where we managed to get 300,000 applications into hospitality. But over the last 18 months, we’ve struggled to get good people. Tech will give you more time to train your staff up to be even better, for you to have service that really stands out.”

Mark McCulloch
Chief Executive of Supersonic

6. Empower and train your teams with any new tech

You need to give the tools to your team in order for them to operate properly – with maximum capacity, efficiency and productivity. 

If you do have the right tools in the back of house, it will automatically translate in your customer service.

So you need to focus more on training. You need to make it easier – like bringing in kitchen screens, the simpler the better.

And of course the way you design your kitchen, the entire flow matters. And new tools give you the accessibility from the moment the order comes in until the moment the order is prepared, so you can measure prep time.

Alexander Jerejian
COO at Salsa Shop

7. Diversify to combat rising costs

So since COVID, our energy costs have doubled. Packaging increased by 50%. Oil by 50%.

Fish and chips is our customers’ regular Friday night treat, but they may now come once every couple of weeks or even once a month.

We can track this data because we’ve got kiosk and Click and Collect. So we can see how often our customers are coming, which is great.

So we’ve diversified a bit by adding additional menu items; fried chicken, vegan fish. 

But I would still say 90% of our customers, even with the price, still come in and want fish and chips. I think it just goes back to being very traditional.

Logan Fraser
Commercial Manager at Cornish Fish and Chips

8. Use data to track the impact of digital channels (it might surprise you!)

With kiosks, you automatically get a higher average ticket size. 

We started with a €20 ticket size, and now we’re at €23. 

And you can keep track of all these things in the back end. Every ticket size, how many transactions per hour, per minute. 

What is your peak time? Have kiosks helped the low time? For example, the younger generation doesn’t come out during our peak time, because it’s lunch, and after that traffic goes down. But through the data, you see in the location where we have kiosks, that the younger generation are coming and using the kiosk after peak. So that makes your entire day high traffic..”

Alexander Jerejian
COO at Salsa Shop

9. Keep evolving your operation to stay ahead

There’s that great Darwin quote about “only the strongest will survive” but for hospitality the quote that applies is actually “the most agile will survive”. 

It’s the brands that haven’t reinvented that are the ones that we see in the news all the time, because they never changed.

And keep your North Star as a brand, but you have to keep evolving. And that’s how you’ll win.

Mark McCulloch
Chief Executive of Supersonic

QSR growth isn’t impossible, even during difficult times.

Learn more about how you can unlock new efficiencies in your operation that will ultimately set you up for confident scaling, no matter what the world throws at your brand.