At this year’s QSR Media Awards, leaders from Australia’s most successful brands honoured the top QSRs from around the country. During the event, industry leaders shared insight on the current trends that are driving restaurant technology and innovation. Here are five key takeaways from the event:
1. Australian Consumer Demographics are Changing
Rahim Ladha, the Director of the ANZ Retail Industry Group at Nielsen, hosted one of the most interesting sessions at the event. Ladha shared insights on how the consumer demographic in Australia are changing and how business owners can take advantage of the new consumer trends.
One important takeaway from the session was the rising diversity rates in Australia. Currently, 28% of the population was born outside the country. This makes Australia the second most diverse country in the world. While Australia was once made up mainly of European-born citizens, the Asian-born Australian demographic is quickly rising.
As the Australian demographic evolves, the habits of the Australian consumers will evolve as well. Many business owners are already starting to see shopping habits shift as a result of the changing demographic.
2. Consumers Are Becoming More Health Conscious
Along with Australia’s increase in diversity, many consumers have their sights on healthier food options. With obesities rates rising, many consumers are focused on shedding weight through a healthier diet and exercise. This shift in focus is one of the reasons why the market for healthier alternatives has grown by 18%.
During the awards, QSR Media recognised Sumo Salad for its My Sumo App, which won the best innovation in health. According to the company’s website, the new digital platform provides consumers with recipes, exclusive offers, and articles focusing on fun and fitness, among other features. It’s clear that the health conscious brand is continuing to develop new resources to meet the demand of consumers.
As the day continued, many panelists shared how their brands are responding to the demand for healthy alternatives. Whether it’s by using high-quality ingredients or by adding healthy alternatives, these brands realise the importance of offering healthy options.
3. Convenience is King (Online Ordering, Delivery & Drive-Thru)
Consumers are spending more time at home than ever before. People are telecommuting, choosing in-home entertainment, and using e-commerce services like Amazon to shop at home. The way these consumers choose to find meals is no different.
During the conference, QSR Executives shared their thoughts on the consumer demand for convenience. Brands are now able to reach consumers in more ways than ever. While many restaurants are offering delivery options, there’s still a strong focus on offering drive-thru and takeaway options.
Throughout the session on pickup and delivery, panelists reminded the audience that Australia is still primarily a country of drivers. Despite having the option to get food delivered, many consumers prefer roadside options during their busy commutes. While delivery is helping QSRs reach consumers, the high demand for driver friendly options isn’t expected to change anytime soon.
Panelists also talked about the pros and cons of the current delivery channels. While some companies are still sorting out the logistics of delivery, one thing was clear: customer satisfaction is higher at restaurants who offer delivery services. These customers want the same high quality of food and care, but with exceptional door-to-door service.
Regardless of the delivery method, many QSR brands realise the importance of owning their brand throughout the entire customer journey. Companies spend a lot of time and energy into developing their brand and selecting the right technology, and it’s critical that they can still have a personal experience with guests, regardless of whether it’s in person or online.
Aside from digital ordering, many panelists talked about the blurred lines between retail and restaurants. Traditional grocery stores are providing prepared meals while QSR brands are offering packaged options at grocery stores. These blurred lines are providing QSR brands with the opportunity to test non-traditional methods of distribution.
4. Finding Good Partners is Key
After spending a day with the leading brands from Australian’s QSR industry, one theme was apparent: Innovation and technology are necessary for growth but require the right partner.
During a session on Digital and Marketing Strategies, panelists talked about the importance of choosing the right partners and platforms to grow your brand. With the restaurant industry evolving so quickly, brands were warned of the consequences of not collecting the right data. Without proper platforms or partners, brands may find it difficult to innovate at pace.
Mimma Battista, CEO of Chicken Treat addressed the critical role of partners in her mini-session on how to make a world record-setting digital campaign. In 2015, Chicken Treat created a viral campaign centered around a chicken named Betty. The company attempted to enter the Guinness Book of World Records by having the first chicken tweet a five letter word. Although Betty wasn’t able to successfully tweet a five letter word, the campaign gained global attention from Time Magazine, NBC’s The Today Show and many news outlets.
Just before concluding the session, Battista shared one of her key takeaways was choosing her partners wisely. She stressed the importance of choosing someone who shares a passion for the brand and finding partners who are willing to go the extra mile.
5. At the End of the Day, It’s All About Food
Despite the evolving technology and innovation, the industry at its core is still all about providing consumers will the best food available. Throughout the event, panelists talked about the importance of understanding the customer journey so, at the end of the day, the company can provide customers with great food.
At Mobi2Go, we experienced a similar excitement for food throughout the day. Our mini Doughnut Time donuts were a hit throughout the conference and provided attendees even more incentive to accept digital orders.