Jun 14, 2024 4 min read

BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS: Digital Transformation In Fast Casual and QSR Summit

🎙The Digital Transformation in Fast Casual & QSR Summit by IndustryNow just concluded in Lombard, IL. I absolutely love this show. Learned so much from so many amazing people ...
BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS: Digital Transformation In Fast Casual and QSR Summit
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The Digital Transformation in Fast Casual & QSR Summit by IndustryNow just concluded in Lombard, IL. Their description: "From increasing staff retention to harnessing customer engagement technology, our speakers will tackle the hottest topics in digital transformation in the Fast Casual and QSR space 🍔 🍟."

3 reasons I love this show:

1. Its intimate and you can have real conversations.

2. The brands that attend are proactive in nature.

3. The content is highly based in tactics and how tos.

Its a fantastic show and I was honored to co-host along my friend and colleague Hannah Lopez.



Sorry, that was a mistake. AI is not capable of knocking... yet.

But it is here and innovative, proactive brands are using it and use cases are all over the place. Data analysis, copy writing, guest recognition, menu ideations.

How have you found AI to be helpful?

The creative team we work with at Targetable for our social media content at Handcraft Burgers & Brew to create caption starters.

We work with Ovation for reputation management and they use AI to help write replies to reviews.


Kendall Ware, CFE , CFE of Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux NAILED IT. When he said this on stage at the show, it provided everyone in the audience a very simple way to sum up the thing we are all thinking about -- we dont serve food, we provide hospitality. Great service exceeds price sensitivity. Great service exceeds taste and flavor. Great service exceeds tech stack. Great service makes guests happy and happy guests make for happy team members. Happy team members lead to profitability.

What to do with that ... start at the end and work backwards. ;-)

And kudos Kendall ... guest journey is the priority

Simple ways to enhance the guest experience:

  • Be friendly
  • Order accuracy
  • QSR = Speed of service
  • Full Service = high touches
  • Ask every guest for feedback ... and reply to all of them


We asked the CEO Panel how they buy tech. Here's a high level summary of their answers:

  • Start by understanding their problem.
  • Understand their roadmap.
  • Ask questions about their problems, their needs and their timeline.
  • Be a partner.
  • Answer the phone when they call.
  • Ask questions about their ongoing needs.
  • Adapt product where needed.

Vendors: That's a playbook

Brands: Be open minded and dont hide your answers if you decide to take the call.


There was a lot of talk about adapting our businesses to work, train and reward in a way that aligns to the needs, interests and style of our employees -- a lot of who are Gen Z and soon to be Gen Alpha. They want to be included.

To quote Josh Halpern, CEO of Big Chicken, from an awesome key note presentation ...

"Modern day c-suites need to recognize that Gen-Z want to co-create our brands with us, and giving pathways to let them do that is essential if we want to build loyalty (guest and team) in the younger generations."


Considering that the return rate of a first time guest is low and the cost of acquisition is high, brands are focused into the idea of maximizing the opportunity. Retention starts with collecting guest data because if you don't have the contact info for a guest, its a lot harder to message them with retention marketing. Here are a couple of unique tactics marketers are using to get guests to come back.

  • Limited Time Offers
  • Personalized / segmented marketing
  • Offers for lapsing guests


Suppliers, especially POS -- read this twice. Brand are asking for integrations.

Every brand is unique and has a unique customer journey. No two restaurants are the same and therefore their tech stacks aren't either. More restaurants are looking for best in breed ecosystems.

You want to sell more SaaS, stop withholding integration access. Open it up. Allow everyone to build to you.


If you were at #QSRSummit, what did you walk away with?



*I help restaurants to build guest marketing programs.

*I help hospitality tech companies with lead generation and content marketing.

#fastcasual #conference #restaurantbusiness #restauranttech #restaurantowners #restaurantmarketing #restaurantindustry #restaurantowner

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