By 2028 the QSR market is expected to grow to $577.7 Billion USD globally, with a compounded annual growth rate of 3.65% (Market Research Future, Aug2021). There are an estimated 826,000 fast food restaurants in operation globally among which, almost 50% of the world’s fast-food market is expected to be in the US.
All told, the quick serve restaurant business is a large economic factor internationally, employing over 12 million people around the world. Trends here are felt around the world, across many different cultures.
As such, five QSR trends to watch in 2022 include:
Barring any significant new COVID-19 pandemic variant’s emerging, travel is coming back into vogue. With increased travel comes eating on the go. That bodes well for the quick service restaurant industry. Long term with the return of travel, QSR and fast casual restaurants will experience a resurgence.
We all aspire to live a life of leisure. In that regard the coffee culture is part of that world of innocent pleasures with a splash of mild eccentricity. In a way, coffee and the cafe are the social lubricants of modern society. It is about improving the lifestyle of customers, giving them a moment of escape, and providing very tailored customer experiences. Think of Starbuck's wide variety of coffee options that cater to each individual customer's style, tastes, and ... name. Consider too the continually growing menu items available at most coffee houses today. As we step away from the self-isolating era of the pandemic, there will be a return to the cafe we have been denied for so long.
There is no denying one of the biggest food trends of the 2020s, being that of healthier fast foods. That includes the wider array of food options including vegan options too. This is good for the industry, as it will encourage more consumers to take comfort in the fact that their meal is both healthy and tasty. Notice the number of plant-based burgers and foods now available on many menus. An interesting anecdotal example is that Burger King experienced an 18.5% increase in foot traffic when they first introduce the Impossible Burgers on their menu list of plant-based options.
Hand in hand with healthier foods, is the fact that consumers will also be more conscious of cleanliness and sanitization in their restaurants of choice. The ultimate combination will be those with both a healthy menu, and a clean look, feel, and atmosphere.
Mobile orders are here to stay. Emerging from the pandemic, digital orders had increased by 23%, with expectations for this to triple in 2022. According to DoorDash’s June 21 survey, 30% of the consumers like the idea of ordering directly from the restaurant’s website or app. Whether it is selecting your order from a digital in-restaurant screen, social media site, or your mobile app for a pickup or uber-eats option; digital technology is now part of the QSR landscape.
Now that we are all accustomed to the convenience of home delivery - even for fast food - there is no turning back. Home delivery is now just as much a part of the landscape as is the QSR app.
What QSR trends list would be complete without a little AI. Although artificial intelligence (AI) has not been heavily discussed in the QSR world, will 2022 be the awakening year? Think of systems that recommend drink or side-order options that many other consumers have enjoyed as well. Or perhaps a system that remembers your preferences, and automatically adds or removes the mayo and pickles. And expect that on one of your journeys through the drive through, your attendant will be an AI. It may both clearly annunciate your greeting and take your verbal order - just as a human attendant would.
This is all part of the brave new world of the quick serve. Will ghost kitchens make it big, despite not being mentioned on the QSR trends list? Time will tell. But one of the least surprising for this year will be the further inroads into digital technology. If you are among those without a robust solution, consider the OSF Digital Quick Start QSR option. In just 4 weeks, you can add your QSR chain to the restaurants succeeding in this new customer era. At the end of the day, it is all about the guest's experience and their ordering desires will prevail. And by the way... the future really is looking digital.
Becky’s background in corporate marketing, sales and leadership spans several industries including Media and Communications, Retail and Consumer Goods, Professional Services, Finance and Technology. With more than 15 years of worldwide experience in rapidly growing organizations, Becky plays a major role in integrating technologies and business processes to create demand engines that influence and convert growth. Becky’s passion for technology and B2B enterprise services inspire her to share unique perspectives on digital transformation strategies that deliver strong results and deep business intelligence.