By Brandon Solnit – PAR Technology
If there is one word that sends chills down the spine of any brand owner, operator, or employee, it is ‘recession’. Amidst a recession, jobs are lost, businesses close their doors, and the economy sinks to depths making a recovery a grinding task. The nightmares of a downturn may soon become a reality as inflation rates in the United States skyrocket to new heights. In 2022, inflation in the United States reached 8.5%, its highest rate since 1982. As inflation shocks weigh on consumers and the economy, Bank of America analysts predict a mild recession will arrive in the second half of 2022. Although a recession in the next year is not guaranteed, all signs point towards that outcome.
The food service industry is currently experiencing significant changes in foot traffic and consumer behavior. According to Revenue Management Solutions 2022 US Quick-Service Trends report, the restaurant industry saw average prices jump from a 6.8% increase year-over-year in Q4 2021 to 10.8% in Q2 2022. The average check also went up 7.2% when compared to Q2 2021. With changes in average prices and check averages, restaurants saw a decline in foot traffic as it was down 5.4% in Q2 2022 compared to last year. The spike in average restaurant prices and checks is mainly due to the current inflation rates mixed with supply chain challenges. Last year, the National Restaurant Association sent a letter to congressional leaders highlighting “how supply chain challenges and inflation are weighing down restaurant industry rebuilding.” In the letter, the Association exclaims that 95% of restaurants have experienced significant supply delays or shortages of key food items and 75% of restaurants had to make menu changes because of the supply chain challenges. The leading factors of supply chain challenges are supply chain bottlenecks, higher costs of ingredients, and labor shortages.
PAR™ Products are designed for recession-proofing
Even if the recession never hits, brands must prepare and recession-proof their existing technology and solutions. A key concern for brands during a recession is how they can cut costs while driving sales. Technologies and solutions, like those provided by PAR™ Technology, will help brand owners and operators overcome these challenges and make the toughest times feel like any other day in the office. PAR Technology provides brands of all sizes services and solutions that assist with day-to-day operations, provide insights about customer behavior, and drive foot traffic and sales. These three PAR products will assist brands in cutting costs, driving sales, and recession-proofing their business.
PAR Infinity™ – Maintaining existing technology for any brand is expensive and presents high up-front costs that reduce capital. With PAR Infinity™, brands will have the technology and services needed to successfully operate for life. PAR Infinity is the complete hardware-as-a-service package designed to minimize technical interruptions during operations and ensure brands are prepared for the future of technology. Included is the PAR Helix – the latest model of PARs point-of-sale terminal, PAR KDS (kitchen display system) – designed to unite front and back-of-the-house staffers, and PAR Services – 24/7/365 customer support to quickly respond and resolve any incidents that may impact operations.
Data Central® – To survive a recession, brands will need to receive important insights about their operations. With Data Central®, brands will be able to optimize every part of their business and identify current trends and problems with innovative solutions and database management services. This cloud-based back-office service provides brands with inventory management tools, food management tools, and labor management tools to save time, increase accuracy, control food costs, and optimize staff scheduling based on accurate, industry-leading forecasts. Data Central will recession-proof brands by maximizing margins, minimizing labor spending, and providing actionable insights specific to operations.
Punchh® – Finding creative ways to increase foot traffic and drive sales can be a challenge for brands, especially during a recession. The Punchh® loyalty platform is the leading loyalty, offers, and engagement platform in the restaurant industry and provides brands with critical insights that can power campaigns that keep customers coming back for more. With Punchh®, concepts will be able to send personalized offers to customers and create the ideal guest loyalty experience. Punchh engages with customers at every touchpoint and unifies data to give a comprehensive, real-time, and personal understanding of guest behavior. This ML-powered customer engagement platform creates stronger brand advocacy and gives customers a reason to shop with that particular brand.
A recession can be the nail in the coffin for brands, but it does not have to be. With PAR products and services, brands of all sizes will be able to maneuver through the tough recession landscape and come out unscathed. To learn more about PAR™, visit our website or contact us today!