The increasing competition and adoption of new technological solutions such data analytics (in front and backend operation) and mobile devices is expected to drive the growth of the U.S. quick service restaurant (QSR) IT market in near future. QSRs are expected to heavily invest in software based solution in order to increase customer footprint and thereby drive sales revenue. Many QSRs are expected to replace their older kiosk and signage solutions which would drive the market growth in the hardware segment. Furthermore, up-gradation and introduction of new software to restructure daily business operations is expected to drive the market for software and service segment. The U.S. QSR IT market comprises different hardware components, supporting IT, and services such as network security and cloud based services. The QSR market by hardware component is classified into five major segments: signage systems, kiosks, point of sales, handheld devices, and digital menu cards. The software segment is further categorized as front of house, inventory management, reconciliation, labor management, HR software, data analytics, marketing, restaurant operation, support operation and franchise management. These software segment are further categorized as per the software used in the QSR industry. Digital signage is expected to be the largest revenue contributor in the hardware segment owing to high initial cost as compared to other hardware and increasing usage in signage system and drive through terminal segment. The front of house software segment is expected to contribute largest market share within the QSR software market, since it accounts majority for payment and point of sale solution software.
As customers are increasingly using social and digital media as part of their lifestyle, quick service restaurants have been promptly recognizing the need for digital and social media as medium of interaction to reach wide audience and improve their marketing. Moreover, many customers prefer QSRs with self-service options, such as kiosk systems, as it reduces the waiting time. Thus, with changing customer preference for convenient and quick services, the QSR industry players need to adapt in order to avoid losing their customers to competitors. Subsequently, as the QSR industry moves toward digital technology and business intelligence solutions, the demand for POS, kiosks, handheld devices, signage systems, digital menu cards, IT (data analytics, marketing and front of house) is expected to expand significantly.
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Rising Hourly Wages in the U.S. Trigger Adoption of QSR IT Solutions
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that the average hourly earnings of people working in the food services industry has increased from nearly US$11.54 in 2010 to US$13.33 in 2016. This trend in salary inflations is a prominent factor compelling QSR owners in making the shift from manual operations to machine-based automatic operations. In the next few years, IT solutions that can replace the need for manual intervention in QSR operations, such as digital kiosks, tabletop e-waiters, digital checkout counters, and digital menu boards will gain increased adoption. Hand-held devices, especially, such as tablets and smartphones, will gain increasingly prominent positions in the future IT-enabled QSR infrastructures.
Need for Speed in Consumer Services to Stimulate Demand
With a continuous rise in the numbers of quick service restaurants in the U.S., the competition has also soared. Hence, ways of delivering best-in-class services and meeting consumer expectations are being pursued. This has driven the increased adoption of digital channels for transacting in quick service restaurants in the past few years in the U.S. market. QSRs in the country are updating their internal systems to make meal orders and payments compatible with near field communication and mobile wallets. Contactless payment solutions, which can immensely help smoothen transactions, are increasingly being tested by payment solution providers for creating quick payment options.
In the next few years, the rising number of smartphones users in the country is expected to make smartphones the central point of contact with consumers for the QSR industry. Thus solutions enabling purchasing, ordering, and payment using smartphones will be the most promising revenue generators.
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Hardware Components to Contribute to Substantial Share in Revenue
In terms of component, the U.S. QSR IT market is ruled by the hardware segment, which contributed the key share in the market’s revenue in 2015, an estimated US$1.99 bn. However, the segment is expected to lose its attractiveness to the software segment, which is projected to rise at a high CAGR of 9.9% in the U.S. QSR IT market over the period between 2016 and 2024. The services segment will rise at more than 7% CAGR over the same period.
On a whole, the U.S. QSR IT market will exhibit a favorable 7.4% CAGR from 2016 to 2024. The market is expected to rise from a valuation of US$3.21 bn in 2015 to US$6.22 bn by 2024.
The market features a high level of fragmentation and intense competitive rivalry. In 2015, the top five companies accounted for a share of mere 25% in the overall market. The presence of a large number of software providers in the market has positioned buyers at a commanding position. However, base installation costs, post installation maintenance costs, high costs of hardware products, and upgradation costs still make digitization a costly affair and hinders its expansion across small-sized QSRs in the U.S.
To overcome this challenge and expand their consumer base, vendors in the market are focusing on offering economic and customizable solutions that can make use of pre-existing IT infrastructure. Cloud-based solutions and extended financing and warranty options in collaboration with financial institutions are also being offered by a large number of companies in the market to appeal to this group of end user.
Some of the prominent vendors in the market are NCR Corporation, Panasonic Corporation, HM Electronics, Inc., PAR Technology Corporation, NEC Display Solutions of America, Inc., Oracle Corporation, and Revel Systems, Inc.
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