AI’s power to simplify, magnify QSR digital marketing

Image Courtesy: QSR Web

For more than a decade, Fortune 500 companies have harnessed AI’s phenomenal power to increase the effectiveness and overall ease of implementation of their digital marketing initiatives. But for smaller entities, like many QSRs, this tool and its many manifestations has only been truly accessible in recent years. As a result, many QSR leaders still maintain a “hands-off approach” to the tool, considering AI to simply be one of those buzzwords or abstract concepts that has no real application in their business. 

But, whether AI’s perceived complexity or other unknowns are holding your brand back from taking a closer look at this tool, rest assured that it’s not as tough to grasp as it may seem and that by acquiring even a basic understanding of it, brands can soon find ways to put AI to use to elevate digital marketing efforts in ways that drive more diners in to rack more sales up. 

Toward that end, here are four ways QSRs can use AI for digital marketing:

Automated advertising

The world of digital marketing is complex and for a marketing manager overseeing hundreds of restaurants or a local owner running the day-to-day operations, there’s simply no time to do all the heavy lifting required to run the most effective campaign. Human analysis and optimization of digital marketing campaign, which should ideally occurs several times daily, are time-consuming and costly. 

But marketers are using AI and machine learning tools like those of my company to help automate advertising, so managers can focus on daily business functions instead of social media marketing campaigns and the budget allocations for them. In fact, since machine learning deploys 24/7 algorithmic-based optimization that work toward a QSR’s marketing objectives, a sizable competitive advantage is already established. For instance, one brand that we recently worked with to implement machine learning reported its usual seven-day turnaround for digital marketing creative was cut to just 107 seconds. 

Predictive customer behavior

New technology has hit the market that can predict what consumers will buy with an incredibly high level of accuracy by using data and deep learning, a subset of AI, to predict what consumers will do and how they’ll do it. The easiest way to think of this technology in action is when you log in to Netflix or Amazon and are served with suggested shows to watch or products to buy. 

If you’ve ever felt like these services “know” you, well, that’s AI at work. As technology continues to advance, brands will slowly get rid of the “customer profile” they’ve been using to market and instead hone in on each specific customer and his or her habits to better serve them and drive revenue. 

Ordering via voice search

With the growth of Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, several national brands have incorporated voice-activated ordering. Domino’s was an early adopter in 2014 with the launch of its virtual, voice-ordering technology “Dom” and Wingstop partnered with Alexa in 2017 to make ordering easier. While voice-ordering is still in its infancy — bringing in only about $2 billion annually now, OC&C Strategy Consultants is quoted as saying that will jump to $40 billion in 2022.


If you’ve ever visited a website where a small chat function appears on your screen asking something simple like, “How can I help you today?” or if you’ve ever asked Siri where the nearest Dunkin’ is, you’ve interacted with a chatbot. Chatbots use AI systems that act as customer service representatives. Users interact with chatbots via voice or text, much as they would do with a human. 

Chatbot developers create scripts of potential customer scenarios, which are then programmed to create a software application. Chatbots can provide on-demand responses to common questions, which can save brands time and money and even lead to higher customer satisfaction. In fact, business solutions review platform, G2, said that by 2020, 85% of consumer interactions will be handled without a human.

What’s next?

The focus on AI has produced significant growth in the tech segment over the last five years, with computers now powerful enough to handle sophisticated models that can solve new and different approaches to problems. While no one knows what AI’s effect on our society will be in the long term, we can all agree it is and will be disruptive. With this in mind, brands that take advantage of its applications early on are well-positioned to get and stay ahead of the competition and earn market share.

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