EXECUTIVE INSIGHTS | Kevin Santos, Singapore

Digitally native restaurants the “real evolution of technology” in foodservice, Little Caesars says

By 2022, the QSR industry in Asia Pacific is projected to have the highest growth rate in any region.

In this age of smartphones, watching films, booking rides, and buying household items can be done at the touch of a button.

As far as the restaurant industry is concerned, ordering food is no different.

“Our phones [and] access to technology has completely changed the way people will access food, goods, services and everything for the future. Mobile food ordering is here to stay,” Little Caesars’ Senior Vice President for International Paula Vissing said in her keynote at the QSR Media Asia Conference and Awards.

Vissing explained that further integration of mobile apps in customers’ lives and the continued focus on automation are some things brands should consider as technology develops. But the “real evolution” of technology in foodservice, she says, is the fruition of digitally-native restaurants.

"For most of us right now, we're layering technology on to our existing business model. But it wasn't really developed to support the technology; we're figuring out how to fit the pieces together. But a digitally native restaurant will be something that's developed from the ground up that takes into account all the technology that's available and doesn't later on, that would be the opportunity for folks as we continue to move forward," she explained.

A ‘technology-dependent’ generation
But what does this mean for brands in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region? 

Vissing, citing research, says the quick service restaurant industry in APAC is projected to have the highest growth rate of any region by 2022, whilst 60% of the global population will be millennials and younger in ten years.

“If you think about the opportunity for growth in this part of the world, we got a generation of folks who are technology-dependent. The opportunity will be to capitalise on growth by making sure that your business is delivering the kinds of technology that those generations of folks will expect from you,” she explained.

Recently opening its first doors in Singapore and in the Philippines, Little Caesars has furthered its in-store technology by introducing the Reserve-N-Ready model that combines mobile ordering, pre-payment and heated self-service pick up. 

(Also read: Little Caesars wants a bigger slice of the global pizza market by sticking to product innovation and technology)

Little Caesars says that their franchisees have responded positively to the costs associated with new technologies.

“We have been able to show a really great payback on the implementation of these technologies. That makes that conversation a lot easier than if that was information did not make the case so compelling,” she said.

Aside from “definitely” having plans to expand in the heartlands of Singapore, Vissing also confirmed that Little Caesars is interested to develop their brand in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

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