Does your retail IT support match your customer experience?

By: Kendra Gullette


The quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry is forward-thinking when it comes to technology. It embraces digital displays, self-service kiosks, mobile point-of-sale solutions and Internet of Things-enabled kitchens to keep operations moving swiftly. To create these solutions, modern retail restaurants often use multiple manufacturers and equipment types. With this level of variety, there are bound to be drawbacks. The same IT support technology that can lower costs and improve customer experience often causes retail IT support issues.

According to a Forrester Research study, up to 75 percent of an average technology budget is spent on keeping the lights on and the business running. How can CIOs and retail IT support leaders keep IT support spending under control while making room for new business costs?

Simplify with centralized IT support

Maintaining a QSR solution isn’t easy when you’re relying on diverse equipment and up to hundreds of manufacturers. Each technology solution has a different manufacturer, life cycle and support provider — a potential nightmare for franchise retail IT leaders. It’s common to see businesses that rely on six or more IT support providers.

To get the most out of your technology investments, assess the time and hidden costs that arise from fragmented support. In the long run, spending too much time on resolving equipment maintenance and retail IT support issues takes away from focusing on pressing customer needs.

What’s the answer? Think beyond procurement and implementation and treat IT services as a strategy. Consider integrating the cost of IT services into your overall IT strategy. Generating quality support can provide a big payback — over 80 percent of tickets close after first contact with an IBM call center, based on internal IBM data.

Design your retail IT support strategy

At the end of the day, the technology in your restaurant should provide a positive experience for customers, IT staff and franchise owners. Create a consolidated IT support strategy to help improve consumer experience and reduce support spending. As you develop your strategy, make sure to:

  • Consider IT support as a tool for innovation rather than simply a cost.
  • Work with an as-a-service provider who offers multi-vendor, end-to-end support and creates a road map of your technology’s life cycle to inform purchase and IT support decisions.
  • Think beyond reactive support. Look for preventative IT support that helps your team anticipate problems. For example, IBM specialists can apply analytics to predict where the most problems occur and streamline support into one service call.
  • Identify a provider that will adapt to your organization’s changing technology and support needs so you can keep innovating without interruption.

Interested in learning more? Find out more about how restaurants are implementing retail IT support services as a strategy or discuss ideas with an IBM expert.

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About The Author

Kendra Gullette

Global MTSS-MVS Offering Deployment Leader, IBM

Kendra Gullette is a CRM professional with a strong background in creating solutions for various industries and geographies. As a graduate of distinction from IBM's Global Sales School, her focus is always on the client and how to create the best solution with the right message for every deal. In her current role, she helps... Read more