We’d like to apologise in advance for anyone who is choosing to read this while they are feeling hungry. It can be absolute torture to see the words ‘pizza’ or ‘burger’ or ‘takeaway’ while you are close to gnawing off your own arm in starvation, but trust us, the read will be worth it if you are looking for good ways to revolutionise your business.
Whether you are a fan of fast food or not, you would be surprised at how much you could learn from the industry. People in Australia are becoming more and more conscious of what they eat, but even during a rapid shift in preference away from quick-and-greasy to quick-and-healthy, fast food companies continue to have a strong grip on a significant share of the market. So how do they do it?
Staying agile in the digital age
Food, being one of the things absolutely necessary for human survival (along with oxygen and Netflix), is an industry that you expect to remain relatively stable on an industrial scale. And that’s true: Australian Bureau of Statistics data reveals that food retailing has been steadily growing for a long time, never really spiking or falling, increasing along with our population.
That’s to be expected, but it’s a little different when you get down to specific businesses, particularly ones centred around fast food. Looking through the years of 2011 and 2012, IBISWorld found that fast food retail sales had been steadily dropping. The report describes how this is likely due to a shift towards healthier options as Australia becomes more health conscious. Pizza, burgers and other such things are not exactly considered health foods, so people started buying less of them.
And just how much have peoples tastes changed? A report from Enhanced Media Metrics Australia reveals that, even when considering fast food, people were still remaining health-conscious. People were thinking about their personal banking balance first and foremost, seeking out those cheap eats. But making a healthy choice was the next key driver in choice of fast-food restaurant, beating out even how tasty the grub is. Apparently, people would be happy to eat cardboard so long as it wasn’t expensive and good for you!
An overwhelming response
We have a plethora of technological wonders at our fingertips here in Australia.
However, even large businesses can be agile. Those sales drops spurred previously indomitable giants like Domino’s and McDonalds to make some drastic changes to how they present their business and products. Taking advantage of the recent drive towards integration of technology into pretty much everything ever, Domino’s created a number of digital initiatives, including their popular ordering app. As a result of this investment, IBISWorld tells us that their revenue growth increased by 140 per cent in 2014.
Meanwhile, McDonalds took the popularity of collaboration made famous by things like Kickstarter and put it in a bun. You may have seen the additions to many McDonalds restaurants – those touchscreens that allow you to create your own burger. Greater choice for the consumer (including healthier options), enabled by advanced technology. It also included an attempt at rebranding, painting these new burgers as gourmet. It was a rapid change of pace for the company.
The lessons to be learned
This fast adaptation and technological adoption from these industry giants proves one thing: change and progress is possible for any business, large or small. You could run an accountancy firm, a medical clinic or even a newsagents. If something as large as Domino’s or as entrenched as McDonalds can change to better fit consumers’ changing tastes, isn’t it possible for everyone? We have a plethora of technological wonders at our fingertips here in Australia, just waiting for someone to take a firm grasp and differentiate themselves from the pack.
While you may not have the business finance that McDonalds and Domino’s have, there is no reason that a small enterprise can’t learn from these industry leaders. It’s a modern world, but one thing remains the same, as it always has in business: adapt, or die.
How is your business adapting to the tastes of your customers?