Is collaboration the next QSR disruptor?

By Domini Stuart | 29 Jun 2022 View comments

Peter Buckingham recently visited The Food Hub in Richmond. Here are his thoughts on an interesting new concept.

Antony Crowther, Managing Director of New York Minute Burgers, was one of the first to foresee that many  quick service restaurants (QSRs) would have to reinvent themselves to survive by becoming far more reliant on deliveries.

He predicts the next disruption for QSRs will be a move from supplying just one product line, such as hamburgers, to offering other brands through the same facilities, or even the ‘dark brands’  advertised on the website but available only for delivery.

Crowther’s new QSR, operated as The Food Hub in Richmond, is one of six outlets where he offers multiple brands including New York Minute hamburgers, Big Mumma’s Fried Chicken and Tokio Japanese food, plus the Itty Bitty Bar to serve alcohol.

Customers can order from ordering panels or using a QR code and the kitchen delivers to their table. The range of food makes it a good choice for a group and communal seating helps to create a relaxed atmosphere.

Is this the QSR of the future?

I don’t doubt that large brand QSRs will continue as market leaders for many years to come. The likes of McDonalds, Hungry Jacks and KFC will continue to evolve and stay relevant. However, this may not be the case for a brand with a niche market, either because they’re not well known, more specialised or simply can’t afford to invest in widespread advertising.

One solution could be for minor brands like these to come together under one roof, forming their own mini food court. Crowther’s view is that it makes economic sense for two or more operators to join forces to supply a range of cuisines while sharing the costs. They could also have their own offers on Uber, Menulog and other aggregators, effectively acting as a black kitchen. For example, The Food Hub – Richmond has two restaurant businesses with separate kitchen lines, a separate bar operator and two separate delivery pick up points all in the same premises.

Crowther is confident this could be franchised either as a single entity running multiple brands or businesses, or a few separate operators each running their own brands and sharing the premises. Perhaps this is the answer to how to compete in a very competitive QSR market.

Peter Buckingham CFE is the Managing Director of Spectrum Analysis Australia Pty Ltd, a demographic, mapping and statistical consultancy. Reach him at peterb@spectrumanalysis.com.au