This article is part of a series in partnership with ISG, a leading global technology research and IT advisory firm.
The interest in sustainability is rising as companies optimize their operations, serve the public, and strive to meet consumers’ growing expectations. The technology to enable those sustainable practices is advancing in kind. Especially in the QSR space, companies are better able to use technology solutions to reduce waste.
According to an ISG consumer industry survey, building sustainable supply chains is the most important environmental goal and one of the areas needing improvement for most consumer companies.
Logistics is one area where restaurants can make supply chains more sustainable. Data analysis can make delivery routes more efficient, reducing their carbon footprint. The key to this solution is a smart tracking system, which enables real-time monitoring through IoT devices. This data can be fed into a route optimization algorithm, which can produce a faster, more sustainable system for trucks. Combined with electric or hybrid vehicles, these steps can go a long way to improving a supply chain.
Long-term cost savings and operational efficiencies
Sustainable technologies can also positively affect QSRs looking to improve operations, reduce spending, and help a restaurant maximize its resources. One of the best examples of this benefit comes from managing waste.
IoT-based tracking systems can be used to manage restaurant waste, generating insights about waste levels, disposal patterns, and other opportunities for improvement. These can be used in initiatives as simple as helping to set and precisely track waste reduction goals or, in a more involved example, tracking surplus food and organizing a redistribution campaign—some digital platforms are even able to connect with local food banks or recycling organizations for a seamless waste reduction process.
Other sustainable practices that simultaneously improve efficiency include:
- Energy-efficient technologies like LED lighting and smart HVAC systems improve service and reduce power expenses.
- Adopt new, optimized packaging solutions that require fewer or greener materials. For example, using reusable cups in stores rather than disposable ones.
- Embracing digital platforms and mobile apps to streamline or replace analog processes that may produce more waste.
Meeting customer expectations and improving brand reputation
Sustainable practices can have a significant impact on a brand’s reputation. Modern consumers are increasingly interested in sustainable practices, and customers are more likely to patronize a QSR that aligns with their values.
From a marketing perspective, it also creates a new opportunity for engagement. By discussing sustainability on a restaurant’s social channels, a company can subtly reinforce its brand and reach customers by starting a new conversation with them.
Gen Z highly prizes this open and transparent engagement. For example, QSRs have seen success in embracing this openness in nutrition. Here, they do not just add healthier options to become a more responsible restaurant but make their nutritional information readily available. This caters to health-conscious consumers while also promoting responsible eating habits. It is also an area where technology can help QSRs. With data analytics and nutritional databases, QSRs can analyze the ingredients used in their recipes, identify areas for improvement, and develop healthier alternatives.
These practices help drive repeat business and build trust in relationships with its customers. This strategy can be an easy way for a QSR to stand apart from its competition, giving customers an extra incentive to visit their restaurant over a rival’s.