QSR with a side of VR: The perfect recipe

PIXO and Lenovo logos across a QSR

PIXO in the news – The combination of PIXO platform on Lenovo ThinkReality headsets, is bringing the entire franchising manual into the 21st century. Thank you to XR Today for sharing our story!

The franchised fast food, or Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry, faces an enduring dilemma: ensuring total consistency in customer and product experience across every branch, while simultaneously managing big challenges in staff retention and training.

“The typical staff turnover rate is 150%”, explains Sean Hurwitz, CEO of PIXOVR. “That means replacing your entire workforce one and a half times per year.” 

This presents a massive challenge in training and onboarding, particularly in an industry that relies on speed and tight margins. Additionally, the industry often employs a younger demographic, not typically enthusiastic about academic learning. “When you’re dealing with 16-18 year olds, giving them a manual to read, that just doesn’t work”, Hurwitz explained. 

These are true digital natives, after all. And as Jason McGuigan, Lenovo product manager pointed out, they’re at home in the virtual world already – making VR training using PIXOVR software on the Lenovo ThinkReality VRX headset a truly scalable and effective solution, for the QSR sector.

“It’s not their first time being represented as an avatar, interacting with digital assets, even putting on a VR headset… This is a generation that’s growing up with these tools daily, so the ability to shepherd them into a new workplace using tech they already use confidently, is a key differentiator.”

Naturally, improved retention represents a significant win.  As Hurwitz confirmed, by using VR training, “you can cut that turnover by 31%.”

VR creates a safe bridge into a new IRL environment

It’s easy to see why, if you imagine the daunting experience of new staff being thrust into a busy restaurant shift, where they must learn on the job, while simultaneously handling real customers, new procedures, tools, and activities. Performance anxiety is a big deal, and the earliest days are the worst. “Our clients know that if they can get someone past the first 3 days, the likelihood is they’ll stay for 90 days, and beyond,” Hurwitz explained. 

The VR environment lets them practice in a safe and consequence-free environment, with no-one yelling orders at them or making them feel out of their depth. And of course, the accident and injury rate can also decline significantly, when a trainee can practice in a virtual environment to build competence and speed, before picking up anything hot or sharp in a stressful kitchen. 

“Prime costs also improve,” Hurwitz continued, “that’s the expenditure on ingredients, and waste. Simply by reducing mistakes, there’s more efficiency there.” 

Happier workers, carrying out their duties safely and efficiently are great brand advocates too: Among a generation who like to share everything, bragging rights to a fun and competitive way to train at work makes for a powerful recruitment tool.

Beyond the training basics: Enhanced employee and customer experiences

“The VR training creates confident employees, who feel aligned with the brand,” McGuigan explained. “The employer-employee relationship is deepened when they feel connected to their new workplace right out of the gate, thanks to virtual reality.”

It all leads to a better and more consistent customer experience too, the franchiser’s dream. Because with Lenovo’s capabilities to scale and deploy these solutions across brands which may have thousands of locations, it creates that elusive universal experience. Customers don’t choose a QSR because they want to be surprised or challenged, they go there because they know exactly what they want, even if they’re somewhere new. And the combination of PIXO software on ThinkReality headsets, is bringing the entire franchising manual into the 21st century.

“This is being applied right across the organization, all the way up to leadership training,” McGuigan pointed out. “Even including the use of generative AI to personalize conversations and interactions, to practice all aspects of human resource and business management… Working with ISVs like PIXO enables the development of totally custom content for each brand customer, that can be rapidly deployed on headsets across the brand.”

All these efficiencies and enhancements combine powerfully.

“When you look at the efficiency of the workforce at every level, the value of that employee sticking around longer, the reduction in injury, as well as the loss and the downturn in the actual waste of products,” McGuigan concluded, “the combined effect is dramatically impactful on the organizations’ bottom line.”

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