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Financial Edge - May 2018

Leading Restaurant Companies Successfully Integrate Technology to Accelerate Future GrowthBy David Ulrich, Executive Vice President | Partner, Wray Executive Search Many leading restaurant companies, such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, Domino’s and Panera Bread, have successfully integrated new technology tools and platforms to address current issues like labor costs, branding, and driving future growth to pull away from their competitors. The proliferation of company apps, kiosks, and other related technologies have enabled these organizations to set up a new level of growth beyond the typical same-store sales metric that most brands seek to measure their future success and opportunities. The real success of these brands has come from the execution of these tools, not only to maintain their existing customer base but more importantly to attract the newest generation of consumers. This new generation is more technology savvy and accustomed to ordering online, on demand, and having food delivered when they want. With the introduction of these platforms, these leading companies have begun to recognize new levels of growth and expansion beyond the traditional measure of success based upon unit level growth. The benefits from this technology investment over the past couple of years has enabled companies to expand their intelligence to improve customer experiences, lower overall labor costs on a unit level basis, and increase brand awareness leading to improved unit level profitability and ultimately, leading to increased stock prices for these brands. New income streams such as catering, increased customer thruput, and proper menu pricing strategies have enabled many of these companies to set in motion a new level of growth in all facets of their businesses that hadn’t been realized in the past. The supporting evidence for all advancement is in the article Top Trends in the restaurant industry to watch in 2018, which clearly demonstrates how companies have properly executed on their technology strategies to address the various challenges that all restaurant business are facing in the current environment. There is an opportunity for other restaurant brands to catch up with these leaders; however, it will take commitment, cash and the ability to execute these technologies properly to capture the consumers that have utilized these new tools and platforms. Remember, technology executed properly can level the playing field even against the biggest of competitors. ——

David Ulrich

David Ulrich, Executive Vice President & Partner at Wray Executive Search is responsible for business development, client management and both domestic and international searches. He has extensive knowledge of the restaurant and foodservice industry and has a deep understanding of the qualities senior executives need to shape profitable futures for their companies.  ——

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