The Labor-Saving Strategies That Can Save Your Fast Food Restaurant

While quick service restaurants (QSR) have seen a spike in sales over the past few years, there have also been smaller increases over previous quarters. Shifts in dining trends are one part but that doesn’t paint the entire picture.

Increasing food costs are affecting restaurants more now than ever. A lack of labor in the industry is strongly impacting service, which in turn is translating into fewer profits. And while curbside carryout and ghost kitchens are still in play, it’s becoming harder for fast food chains and fast-casual restaurants to stay afloat. These four labor-saving strategies can help keep costs down during a time when customers are cutting back due to inflation.

1. Dual Branding

Ever gone past a restaurant that had two concepts in the same building? Then you’ve experienced dual branding. Combining two brands into one location provides convenience and a variety of menu choices to customers. For franchisees, the benefit becomes an increased level of volume and revenue. By only needing one store manager and cross-training employees for all menus, businesses can create profits and save on labor.

2. Technology

If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s how technology helps foodservice businesses run more efficiently. Franchise operations like Marco’s Pizza are implementing order management systems to enhance customer experiences and speed up production times. According to, pizzerias reported an 18 percent increase in sales when orders were placed online versus phone orders. They also stated that 77 percent of customers preferred to still use contactless order methods.

But technology isn’t only for customer-related issues. Implementing technology that monitors systems and equipment so staff can concentrate on other tasks not only relieves labor. It also helps to save money on utilities (and a lot of it). Imagine being able to save more than $40 million on electricity consumption with the use of monitoring technology. National chain Arby’s was able to do just with Middleby’s Open Kitchen IoT-based solution. By connecting various pieces of equipment in commercial kitchens, automating food safety processes, and improving product quality, IoT can help businesses grow without an increase in labor costs.

3. Staying Relevant in an Increased Competitive Landscape

As the restaurant industry evolves, so does the competition. One example of this is how quick service restaurants, such as Taco Bell or Wendy’s, are starting to resemble fast casual businesses and vice versa. Dining room areas in fast casual restaurants are decreasing in square footage while they’re adding on drive-thru windows, typically not seen in this space dominated by Chipotle and Panera Bread. Meanwhile, QSR restaurants are diversifying their menus more to appeal to more customers, offering healthier options at similar price points that directly compete with fast casual offerings. This is happening because both sectors are adapting to customer behaviors, thus minimizing the gap in offerings. While great for the consumer, both QSRs and fast casual restaurants must find ways to stay relevant. Some experts think speed of service is a huge opportunity for operators to come out on top.

4. Innovative Staffing Solutions

Labor continues to be an issue in the restaurant industry. According to the National Restaurant Association, 65 percent of restaurants don’t have enough staff to meet the demands. With speed of service and food quality being the most important factors to gaining repeat service, producing orders quickly is imperative. Cue automated restaurant equipment.

Able to increase speed, cook product, monitor equipment, and help deliver orders, automation allows the staff on hand to concentrate on other parts of the business that can increase profits. With no end in sight to the labor crisis, automation is a pivotal solution.

Update your takeout program to provide convenience and confidence to your QSR customers.

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Topics: Labor Savings, Restaurants