There is no news if we say that Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) are one of the fastest-growing restaurant business models.
Neither is it a surprise if we ensure that social awareness for healthy food is part of the ecosystem of large and medium-sized quick service restaurant brands.
These companies remain focused on optimizing service through fast and effective customer service. Nothing changes. But what is changing is the quest for the best possible combination of local premium ingredients and exotic flavors from the other side of the world.
The most remarkable leader of this QSR model is McDonald’s, but this time we want to focus on two types of food that may at first sight seem incompatible with the traditions of the place where they are succeeding.
On the first hand, we have the amazing rise of Maestro Pizza in Saudi Arabia, with more than 300 restaurants opened in the last three years.
And on the other hand, the consolidation of Planet Sushi and Woko as two of the most important Asian restaurant franchises in France.
In the country of falafel, hummus and dates, we are living in a context of exponential growth in the number of pizzerias. With due respect for Muslim traditions, pizzas have become the trendy food in Saudi Arabia.
This success is not a one-time affair. It is a fragmented market that is starting to consolidate thanks to the growth and leadership of the U.S. franchise Domino’s Pizza and the local restaurant company Daily Food Co., which, with the investment in Maestro Pizza as its flagship, has established itself as the Arabian benchmark brand across the country. These two large companies are not only competing against each other, but also against the growth of such important firms as Yum! Brands Inc., Little Caesar Enterprises Inc. and Rave Restaurant Group, which want to take a big slice of market share.
This race for this juicy market is not a surprise considering that the pizza business in Saudi Arabia achieved an annual growth rate of 3.4% between 2014 and 2019, a year that generated total sales worth nearly $11 million. And the numbers for the next few years are even better. Forecasts for the period from 2020 to 2025 anticipate a compound annual growth rate of more than 11%.
The reasons for the quick penetration of pizza into Saudi Arabia’s cooking routine are due to the growth of Western influence on the Arab people thanks to the promotion of global tourism as well as the increase of internet connectivity in recent years. With almost 100% of the population connected, the QSR sector has been able to provide easy access to apps and delivery platforms that have enabled locals to assimilate and enjoy, in a short period of time, the advantages of quick service restaurants.
This globalization of demand has facilitated the arrival of food groups such as Domino’s and Pizza Hut, as well as providing an ideal environment for expansion and development for specialized local players such as Maestro Pizza. In this case, the company has enough know-how and financial strength to compete with U.S. franchises.
To do this, Maestro Pizza has focused its efforts on consolidating the digital transformation of the business, investing in more optimized home delivery services and considering the implementation of technological solutions for staff and task scheduling in order to achieve the highest operational efficiency and the best possible performance of all its restaurants.
Because of this, Maestro Pizza is currently one of the QSR brands with the highest growth rate in home delivery in all of Saudi Arabia.
From enjoying a good pizza on the shores of the Red Sea to celebrating the fusion of Asian flavors with the distinguished French appetite.
France has been the home of haute cuisine. Paul Bocuse, Alain Ducasse, Michel Bras, Jöel Robuchon or Anne-Sophie Pic are legendary personalities of French gastronomy. Famous chefs who have built the fundamentals of one of the most characteristic features of the country’s identity.
In an environment like this, it sounds crazy to try to open a restaurant with such exotic food, far from the traditional standards of France.
Although maybe the idea is not so crazy seeing that, according to a report recently published on Statista, sales of Asian products (noodles, rice,…) in French supermarkets in 2020 reached a total of 340 million euros. Combine that with 2019 data showing that nearly 55% of French adults eat several times a month Asian food, we find a well-established breakthrough in the tastes of French consumers of a type of food far from the usual rules of French haute cuisine.
Perhaps it is the inevitable consequence of globalization or maybe it is a matter of the desire to try new flavors. However, there is no doubt that the French public is demanding tasty, affordable and accessible culinary experiences. Of course, these experiences have to be adapted to multiculturalism, identity commitment and the challenging integration of typical products such as foie gras or the many varieties of French cheese.
As Minh-Duc Truong, the co-founder and director of Woko, says: “Unlike other types of Asian cuisine, Vietnamese cuisine offers relatively consensual flavors for the French palate. We were able to choose from among the Vietnamese street food dishes that could be most relevant to French consumers. And we have also slightly modified some of the traditional Vietnamese recipes to make them less sweet, sour or spicy (…) without changing the authentic side of the products.”
This ability to adapt without losing the essence is at the heart of the major restaurant operators. This is how Woko has achieved to export a type of food initially so remote from the French tradition and turn it into a great hit with the public in its restaurants all over the country.
Something similar has happened with the explosion of Planet Sushi and its more than 40 Japanese food locations. A natural evolution that, in the words of Siben Nser, founder and director of the firm, is due to its commitment to “phygitalisation”. As he affirmed in a recent interview, “phygitalisation is the contraction between physical and digital” and is an effort to unify the advantages of the online world with physical stores.
The adoption of digital transformation as a core business driver in the foodservice industry is an inevitable step in order to remain competitive. It is no longer a question of importing exotic products to foreign countries. Now it’s all about implementing technological solutions that complement and boost the ability of large and medium-sized Quick Service Restaurants companies to create and innovate.
Once you have successfully educated the appetite of your consumers to your quality recipes, you can’t lose traction by not being able to offer effective customer service without your personnel costs skyrocketing.
Just as you can’t cook without salt, you can’t grow up in your restaurants without automated time and task scheduling software.
In order to achieve this, fast food executives must deal with the transition from a pure sales-based estimation model to an accurate workload measurement that combines ticketing and product mix data. This new reality requires the most efficient work processes possible through automated scheduling to place the right employee at the right time in order to deliver the best customer experience.
This need to implement a competitive technology solution is supported by first-hand analysis of recent performance impact data from a major Quick Service Restaurants brand such as McDonald’s.
The implementation of the ORQUEST software solution in all McDonald’s Spain restaurants has allowed, in words of Robert Ros, COO of the company, “to make strategic day-to-day decisions based on data”.
This intelligent and effective decision making has had a real and immediate impact on the performance of all the company’s burger restaurants. If you want to check the real numbers of the benefits of strengthening your digital transformation strategy with artificial intelligence and advanced analytics software, just click on the button below:
C007/20-ED. 2020 call for proposals on technological development based on artificial intelligence and other digital enabling technologies within the framework of the strategic action of digital economy and society of the state R&D&I program