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Q&A with Hungry Jacks Franchisee Chris Close

At Summit Innovations we are proud to work with leading QSR brands all over the world to deliver industry-leading drive-thru solutions.

In this article, we hear from Hungry Jacks franchisee, Chris Close, about all things QSR – from technology to trends, and what might be next for this exciting, fast-developing industry.

Q: Tell us a bit about your experience in the QSR industry?

Currently, I am the owner of a Hungry Jacks restaurant in Ballarat, but I started in the QSR industry when I was just 15 years old. I began in an entry level job at McDonald’s and worked my way up through the ranks over the years. I also spent time with Red Rooster as the State Manager for South Australia and Victoria.

In my initial years working in QSRs, I had the opportunity to work with Summit Innovations, providing feedback on various technology from a Store Manager’s perspective.

I then joined the Summit Innovations team for a period of four years where I was working as Director, Global Operations before moving on to work for QSR brands at a corporate level, and a few years later bought my first Hungry Jacks restaurant.

Q: How long have you owned your Hungry Jacks restaurant?

I purchased the restaurant in November 2021 and was lucky to be able to acquire a store that was newly renovated and fully equipped with all the technology required.

Q: What technology products are you currently using in-store?

In-store, we are currently using Summit Innovations’ Drive-Thru Timing System, Dynamic Ranking System, Panorama Reporting and G5 Drive-Thru Headsets.

Q: What benefits have you noticed while using Summit’s products?

I’m a big believer in using tech to benefit business – investing time and money to make sure as a business we’re using whatever we can to its full capacity to get the maximum benefit from it. In my opinion, one of the biggest benefits of using Summit’s QSR technology is the ability to be able to measure our drive-thru performance accurately and in real time.

For my restaurant, the drive-thru brings in at least 60% of our revenue and 80% of our profit base so it’s vitally important to our overall restaurant performance that we are optimising this channel. I need real-time data so that I can react quickly to resolve any issues and ensure smooth operation in the drive-thru and that’s exactly what Summit’s technology provides.

Q: Is there anything you’ve learnt or anything that has surprised you from using Summit’s products?

I am constantly amazed by how competitive people are! And nothing brings out this sense of competition more than the Dynamic Ranking System – it is a huge source of engagement and motivation for my team. Allowing my team to ‘compete’ against other restaurants has had a massive impact on productivity. Essentially, we are ‘gamifying’ the day at work, and I’m just constantly surprised by how much this motivates staff. Crew like to see their team listed in the top five, no one wants to be on the bottom of the rankings!

In addition, our KPI and bonus program are structured around rankings, which adds an additional level of motivation for team leaders.

Q: What would you say are the greatest operational challenges QSRs are facing today?

Getting the right people to fill roles is tough. COVID has wreaked havoc on the hospitality industry in general. There are currently lots of jobs in the QSR industry and not enough people to fill them.

Q: What do you think are the next key technology trends for the QSR industry?

Similar to what we can see in everyone’s day-to-day lives, I think there will be a big move towards greater convenience, access and ease.

We’ll see the increasing ability for customers to order and interact with QSRs in many ways – from extra windows and lanes in-store to a greater reliance on apps, facial recognition, delivery and click and collect services. Exciting times ahead!