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02/05/2021

KFC/Taco Bell franchisee keeps up with changes brought by COVID-19

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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An operator of more than 200 KFC and Taco Bell locations is leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to support customer-facing decisions.

Mitra QSR, a franchisee of the Yum! Brands-owned KFC and Taco Bell quick-service chains, is improving analytics and decision support across its store network with the cloud-based Hypersonix enterprise AI platform. The platform sits and operates independently outside the restaurant locations, which eases implementation and use.

Mitra QSR is applying the AI capabilities of the Hypersonix solution to support a wide range of decisions it has made in response to shifting consumer behaviors and expecations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These include shifting entirely to take-out in most geographies, which placed a premium on efficiency in the drive-through lanes; increased demand for bigger bundle meals compared to individual orders; and a decrease in both lunchtime and dinner/late night business with a shift to more mid-day business, changing staffing and scheduling needs.

In addition, the company had to comply with new, more stringent cleanliness and safety protocols, and increased demand for meal delivery intensified interactions with third-party delivery services.
 
Decisions Mitra QSR made in response to these challenges, supported by Hypersonix AI capabilities, included streamlining menu options to increase drive-thru speed. Mitra QSR credits Hypersonix with helping the company achieve better operational efficiency and menu optimization, which helped to deliver a better customer experience with faster speed, as well as overall labor deployment. 

It has also helped store managers maintain efficient drive-through speed of service, despite operational changes. Additionally, the company has been able to measure the key KPIs relating to customer satisfaction, growth, and optimized sales per labor hour.

“Like many quick-service operators this year, we have grappled with unfamiliar decisions around a host of issues, such as ensuring a safe work environment for our employees and our customers, shifting consumer habits, drive-through operations, personnel management, and promotions,” said Pushpak Patel, CEO of Mitra QSR. “These are certainly challenging in normal times, but the pandemic required us to re-think and recalibrate some of our tried-and-true business practices.”
 
Mitra QSR operates franchised KFC and Taco Bell stores in 15 states from Texas to northern Michigan and Washington, D.C.