Why QSRs, Grocery, and C-Stores Should Invest in Technology

State of the Market

Restaurants, grocery, and convenience stores (c-stores) are up against a labor shortage and running leaner teams (CNBC). Efficiency is key, as employees are stretched quite thin. Technology can help short-staffed teams save time and continue to prioritize customer experience. “Customer-centricity” remains paramount. From the rise of outdoor dining during the COVID-19 pandemic to contactless payments: customers are seeking out seamless and safe dining and shopping experiences (Forbes). Technology helps foodservice businesses to stay on top of consumer trends and efficiently meet their needs. Squadle and ZoomShift joined forces to highlight how groundbreaking technology can help your business thrive and continue to delight customers.

How Can Technology Help Your Business Continue to Evolve?

In QSR: 

QSRs encounter obstacles on a daily basis that could be eased or avoided with the help of digital technology. One common setback QSR’s experience is pencil whipping – from temperature readings to equipment monitoring and food safety checks. Pencil whipping occurs when employees approve a compliance form or document without properly reviewing or completing the task at hand. The term “whipping” comes from the act of rapidly reviewing the content. Another challenge QSRs face includes juggling numerous employee schedules and ensuring all employees have access to the right information. Traditionally, the foodservice industry has recorded safety and shift information with a pen and paper; however, in the wake of digital transformation, QSRs have transitioned to digital food safety and shift management. Fast Casual recently outlined the top technologies that are transforming the foodservice industry, including bluetooth temperature probes and optimizing schedule makers/scheduling softwares. 

Companies like ZoomShift and Squadle are at the forefront of foodservice technologies. ZoomShift, for example, can help make businesses more productive and better organized with their employee scheduling software. ZoomShift has the ability to improve staff accountability, streamline communications, track logged hours and paid time off, find shift replacements, and more. As restaurants know, employees are the heart of the business, so ensuring that everyone is on the same page is imperative. Building weekly work schedules for employees can be time consuming for managers and business owners. Managers who previously created schedules with pen and paper or excel spreadsheets can now save 8 hours a week when they switch to ZoomShift.

Image of Squadle and ZoomShift on smart phones

In addition to ensuring employees arrive to work on time and prepared, an eatery is only as successful as its food safety. By eliminating paper and introducing digital food safety to your locations, businesses can prepare for unexpected health inspections and keep employees and guests safe. Squadle’s suite of digital food safety products including digital checklists, shift management software and temperature sensors can help businesses manage compliance with real-time alerts that trigger corrective actions for managers to coach and correct. For example, when using Squadle’s bluetooth temperature probe technology, the temperature reading is automatically transmitted to the employee’s tablet with either a confirmation or warning about the food temperature’s safety. By investing in Squadle’s technologies, your employees can ensure accuracy and save up to one hour per day on complex and repetitive safety tasks, such as logging temperatures with pen and paper. QSRs can eliminate the pencil and paper entirely and never have to worry about pencil whipping – keeping staff safe, customers happy, and doors open for business. 

In C-Stores: 

C-stores are evolving into the quick-serve market, offering more than chips and candy bars. C-stores now carry an extended list of “grab and go” offerings, such as pizza and hotdogs, leaving employees more to manage. As ready to go foods are becoming more popular at convenience stores, employees must learn the ins-and-outs of food safety. If food safety and hygiene measures are not maintained, both employees and customers could be subjected to foodborne illness and food poisoning. To avoid this, digital food safety can help your business stay food safe. Customized real-time alerts and corrective action triggers guide c-store employees to food safety. For example, TPHC (time as public health control) notifications alert employees when grab & go food should be replaced on the counter. In addition to grab & go offerings, c-stores also provide frozen food options. Outside of operating hours, c-store managers can monitor temperatures of walk-in freezers. This can save your business money, unscheduled downtime, equipment repairs and lost inventory as the remote sensors alert managers if the freezer malfunctions and gets too warm.

As c-store employees take on more responsibility with additional food offerings, investing in scheduling software is highly important. The ability to edit schedules, update timesheets and communicate with all staff from the tips of your fingers gives business managers the ability to stay in control on the go. ZoomShift’s work schedule app is a user-friendly solution that helps managers reduce labor costs. The app helps ensure operations run smoothly by reducing no shows (finding replacements in seconds), making adjustments quickly, and handling shift trades with ease. There are benefits on the employee level as well, with Zoomshift’s group chat and direct messaging feature, ensuring employees communicate outstanding tasks and shift updates.

In Grocery Stores:

Grocery stores have evolved over the past 50 years – from offering more products such as organic produce to implementing barcodes and self-checkout kiosks. Needless to say, grocery stores do not look or function the same way they used to. With changes in customer habits, grocery stores have adapted to consumer needs. Consumers seemingly have endless to-do lists so the time required for grocery shopping can seem daunting. This is where in-store shoppers step in. Many grocery stores have taken it upon themselves to build out online ordering for pick up and delivery service programs. Grocery stores like Star Market, Stop and Shop, Shoprite, Whole Foods and even Target have dedicated pick up parking spots where guests easily have employees shop and load your car for you. The rise in e-grocery stores has proven successful and according to SuperMarket News, it is estimated to double its market share by 2025. A New York Times piece on how Tech is Shaking up Grocery Stores highlights how grocery stores step up to this challenge, “The main way is trying anything to make store workers more efficient at putting together grocery orders to keep down costs. One executive told me that every second counts.” Because every second counts, technologies like Zoomshift can help busy grocery store managers focus on high-value tasks rather than organizing payroll and shifts, and instead prioritize how to position their business for the rise of “e-grocery” shopping.

Image of E-Grocery HQ and a shopping cart
Thrive with Digital 

From bluetooth temperature tracking to digital employee scheduling and online grocery orders – we’ve learned to embrace change in the foodservice industry. Change comes with a host of challenges for employees and managers alike, but it doesn’t need to slow you down. Technologies can help QSRs, c-store, and grocery industries not only embrace change but thrive in the digital age. If you offer a seamless shopping experience with the help of digital tools, customers will thank you with repeat business.