3 fast food trends all franchisees should watch out for

By Nick Hall | 06 Feb 2019 View comments

In the fast food world, convenience is king, and franchise brands have carved out a niche as the ultimate mix of speed, service and consistency.

Chains such as Domino’s and McDonald’s have rolled out global networks that leverage consistency of product and service as their main sales point, and for good reason.

Corina Vucic, director of FC Business Solutions explains; “One of the key reasons customers love franchises is consistency – they know they can get the same product regardless of whether they walk into an outlet in Hobart or Sydney”.

The competitive nature of the fast food sector has seen brands turn to technology as a formula for growth and franchisee profitability, and in 2019 the bar is being set higher than ever.

It’s imperative fast food franchisees understand what they’re in for. So, as the era of innovation kicks off, what can the nation’s fast food franchisees expect to see?

1. Voice ordering

While it may seem like a gimmick, KFC fans in India are already embracing the voice ordering avenue.

In January, the chicken chain unveiled a partnership with Amazon that gave customers across India the ability to order from their nearest KFC restaurant via voice command on the Amazon virtual assistant, Alexa.

Customers with an Alexa enabled speaker can now have the device read aloud menu items, list discounted products, and place an order, once the skill is downloaded and installed through the Alexa app.

IBISWorld Australia senior industry analyst, Bao Vuong said KFC India’s integration of the Alexa ordering platform was just the start of a long-line of automation and adoption set for 2019.

“Fast-food chains will try and stay ahead of the trends and ahead of their competitors, and try to innovate to come up with different avenues to boost convenience for their consumers,” Vuong said.

“By being one of the first fast food chains to adapt a certain technological change, this gives the chain implementing that change a big leg up in the industry and boost revenue if done right.”

2. Online order taking over

The role of delivery platforms and online ordering was taken to new heights in 2018 and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.

While fast food chains and franchisees were quick to label delivery platforms as a passing fad, Vuong said sweeping industry change will see more brands implement UberEats and Deliveroo into their franchisee strategy.

“Although still only a small part of many fast-food chains revenue, this share can be expected to grow over the next five years as demand for convenience continues to grow,” Vuong said.

“Furthermore, things such as automation could be implemented in the process of making food to reduce the risk of order errors or potentially mobile ordering in the industry becoming more of the rule rather than the exception in the industry, as more of the industry shifts online.”

3. More healthy options

There’s no doubting the influence the healthy eating revolution has had on the fast food franchise sector, with the success of Boost Juice and Soul Origin widely documented, however Vuong believes there is still progress to be made in 2019.

“Rising consumer demand for nutritious fast food is projected to drive the Fast Food and Takeaway Food Services industry’s revenue growth over the next five years,” Vuong said.

“However, continuing health consciousness trends will also hinder industry performance, especially for traditional operators, as consumers limit consumption of unhealthy food. Revenue is forecast to grow at an annualised 0.5 per cent over the five years through 2023-24, to $20.0bn.”

2019 and beyond

The fast food sector is highly dependent on consumer preferences, and franchisees within the industry must be willing to work with their franchisor in the roll-out of new market initiatives.

A franchisor committed to innovation is a franchisor looking out for your future, but don’t surprised if not all the initiatives stick.

“It can be very hard to keep up with constantly changing consumer preferences for fast food chains,” Vuong said.

“With all the larger fast-food chains, they are always experimenting and releasing new products, which allows them to see what works, what doesn’t and if a certain trend in the food world would be applicable to its company. Sometimes it might not work, sometimes it might not”.

Love fast-food and want to get into business for yourself? Take a look at all available franchise opportunities here.