With much of the world’s population under stay-at-home orders for months, the quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry has faced unprecedented challenges, including dramatic declines in sales, full pivots to off-premises-only operations, in addition to store closures and nationwide layoffs. Historically, recessions have benefitted QSR chains like McDonald’s and Burger King, which typically see higher sales when people are cutting back on discretionary spending.


What’s Going On?

The global coronavirus outbreak has uprooted nearly every aspect of the lives of both consumers and businesses. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic illustrated how quickly consumer behavior can change and how quickly the restaurant industry had to adjust. Literally in its name, the quick-service restaurant industry has continued to be nimble in quickly shifting business operations and strategies to meet customers’ rapidly-changing tastes.


“Will That be To-Go or To-Go?”

Consumers previously chose between dining in, taking out, picking up, ordering via food delivery app, or using drive-thru service. As a result of COVID-19, new operations, such as creative pick-up and delivery options, have been introduced almost overnight to promote social distancing and remote ordering in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus. While dining rooms have closed, many quick-service chains have remained open for business, offering contactless service instead. Off-premises, such as carry-out, delivery, and drive through, is a valuable sector where quick service has long reigned, and has endured for decades. According to the NPD Group, total restaurant consumer spending measured $450b in sales for the 12-month period that ended January. Of that, 48.5% was off-premises, which measured to $218b alone.

Chains with heavy drive-through business could weather the storm better than others. At many chains, including McDonald’s, the drive-through accounted for as much as 70% of revenue before the crisis, generating billions of dollars for the industry every month. During the pandemic, sales have mostly held steady. In March, drive-throughs generated $8.3b across the fast-food industry, an increase from $8b in sales over the same period in 2019, according to the NPD Group.

Additionally, brands who optimize online ordering options and capabilities make it easier for guests to order from them while keeping a steady stream of revenue coming in. In the past few months, online QSR orders have grown significantly, especially among pizza brands. New customer segments are adopting the online food ordering habit, with an uptick in restaurant site traffic visits for affluent consumers, those with more education, and people 60+ years old, many of whom were advised to take particular precautions about exposure to COVID-19 due to heightened risks from the disease.


Offering Value During Uncertain Times

The financial impact of COVID-19 has shifted the core of why people eat. As budgets get squeezed, cost-conscious consumers are cutting out non-essentials. Operators must redefine the value exchange for consumers in the COVID-19 era. Value is not going to be restricted by price alone.

Given the current state of the economy, more American households are seeking easy, cost-efficient options to help offset some of the physical and financial changes caused by the pandemic. This value-driven, health-conscious consumer mindset will likely continue into the recovery process.

Many QSRs, like KFC, Popeyes, and Taco Bell, have introduced limited time offers around pricing, family-sized meals, DIY/”Build-Your-Own” meals, and free delivery. Bundle meals and improved curbside offerings and services will still play a vital role for wary consumers following the pandemic. They might even become an ingrained part of the restaurant experience.

Some other trends that could accelerate during the coronavirus pandemic will be mobile ordering, mobile pay (one less point of human contact,) and third-party delivery.


Adapting During COVID-19 Crisis

Constantly raising the bar, today’s on-demand consumers are demanding more than ever from brands – wanting what they want, when they want it. Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, technology providers and QSRs have focused on making it easier for consumers to order their favorite foods using order-ahead technology. Some habits seen today were in motion before the pandemic and will likely stick around long afterwards. The NPD Group predicted that restaurant digital orders will triple in volume by the end of 2020, with mobile leading the way. According to the PYMNTS Commerce Connected Playbook, mobile usage in-car is already common, especially at QSRs: one-quarter of drivers are already on their phones when pulling into drive-thru lanes.

Many points of friction in the path to purchase can be addressed with mobile app technology. Wayfinding technology, inventory management systems integration, and order-ahead capabilities give customers what they need to get in and out quickly. This is important since 90% of consumers say they are unwilling to wait longer than 10 minutes for food ordered via mobile app.

Mobile front-end transactions allow for streamlined curbside pickups, mobile order-ahead and cashier-less in-store checkouts, all of which save time and money for the retailers and customers alike. Given the rapid shift in operations caused by COVID-19, QSRs nationwide are urgently seeking employee training to address a flood of new education mandates around pandemic-era operations.

According to a March 2020 study from Rakuten Ready, a location-centric mobile commerce platform, mobile order-ahead is the most efficient in-store channel for quick service restaurants, with wait times up to 2.4 times faster than in-store ordering. Order for Pickup was actually growing four times faster than delivery heading into 2020.

As of April 2019, the portion of restaurant apps that offered mobile order-ahead was only 18%. Order for Pickup from a mobile app or website is the most cost-efficient channel and by making the investment in shifting towards Order for Pickup, restaurants can serve customers faster, driving profitability and ROI.

  1. Enables operators to capture sales from customers who might otherwise go elsewhere due to long lines
  2. Creates more loyal customers who come back because of the great brand experience
  3. Offers the opportunity to serve more customers during peak periods because of shorter wait times
  4. Allows upsell opportunities to more customers

Additionally, as online and mobile commerce becomes the norm for consumers, car manufacturers have increasingly worked with retailers and quick-service restaurants to unlock new connected-car buying experiences. QSRs like Sonic Drive-In and Domino’s Pizza are enabling digital ordering through built-in dashboards, removing several steps from the ordering process.

Looking Forward: Staying Flexible & Competitive

Transformative technologies will help reinvent physical spaces to meet the needs of consumers that may want more touchless options and less face-to-face interactions. Smart menu boards and online/in-app ordering are opportunities which quick-service operators should focus on immediately to add speed and value to transactions. Safety is a top priority for consumers right now and brands who address the current shift in customer needs by easing health concerns while offering convenience will be better positioned to succeed in the “new normal” once consumers are ready to resume regular spending.

Ways QSRs can take action now while preparing for later:

  • Protect the health and safety of customers and employees
  • Safeguard the top line
  • Stabilize supply chain
  • Simplify kitchen operations while meeting customers’ changing needs
  • Model three-, six-, and 12-month scenarios

Over a quarter of U.S. internet users expect to utilize carryout from restaurants more often after the coronavirus threat. Now is an ideal time to continue marketing, push app installs, and communicate with consumers in-app, as these efforts will offer advantages both now and in the future. After all, time spent on apps is only going to keep increasing. Leading QSR brands expect to continue to be able to reach their ideal audiences even through apps like mobile games.

Now is not the time to sit idle. QSRs should maintain constant authentic communications with customers. Brands who are honest and transparent with consumers will solidify trust, keeping consumers informed and at ease, while also keeping them in the sales funnel.

  • Double down on digital channels
  • Changing the tone of marketing and messaging to focus more on community, cleanliness, and local markets
  • Utilize customer targeting across media channels


Digital Remedy Approach

Before launching a new campaign, it’s critical to understand how consumers are spending their time with media and what type of content is resonating with them in order to effectively connect with them. This was the case even before the coronavirus outbreak.

Digital Remedy has successfully connected QSR advertisers with their most relevant audiences, optimizing campaigns, maximizing engagement, and driving ROAS.

For more industry trends, and to stay up-to-date on all things Digital Remedy, follow us over on TwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram.





  1. QSRWeb, May 11, 2020 Article
  2. PYMNTS.com, September 2019
  3. Rakuten Ready 2020 ROI Study
  4. Datassential, April 2020, Report 13: Money Matters
  5. InMobi, May 2020, Impact of COVID-19: QSR Marketing Report
  6. eMarketer, May 2020, Frictionless Commerce 2020

Mike Seiman

Mike Seiman, CEO & Chairman, is the founder of Digital Remedy, a digital media solutions company leading the tech enabled marketing space he co-founded while still a college student at Hofstra University in the early 2000s. The company has grown quickly and is now a major player within the crowded digital advertising landscape. The rapid growth of Digital Remedy, formerly CPXi led to its inclusion on Inc. Magazine’s list of fastest growing privately held advertising/marketing companies in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2014. Mike was selected as a semi-finalist in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year initiative in 2010 and 2013 and as a finalist in 2009 and 2014. In his free time, Mike serves on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Hofstra University. He also focuses on numerous philanthropic initiatives including sitting on the boards of the H.E.S. (Hebrew Educational Society non-profit community center) and Children International, where he spearheaded the development of community centers in both Guayaquil, Ecuador in 2010 and Barranquilla, Colombia in 2014.

David Zapletal

Before graduating in 2005 with degrees in Retail and Consumer Science (with an emphasis in eCommerce) and a Minor in Public Business Administration at the University of Arizona, David Zapletal had already successfully grown a start up ad network from serving an initial 1 million impressions per day to over 10 million impressions per day. It was his deep understanding of internet advertising during the industry’s beginning stages that led him to another start up at the time, CPXi. More than 8 years that have passed and Zapletal currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Digital Remedy. In that role he continues to help grow and implement optimization tactics across various ad serving platforms, oversee daily operations of the account management and trafficking groups and maximizes ROI for Direct Response advertisers as well as for Publishers. Outside of Digital Remedy, Zapletal commits his efforts to an organization called Camp Dream Street, a camping program for children with disabilities, where he serves on the Board of Directors.

Jeff Reitzen

Jeff has worked in multiple facets of the online industry, from sales to operations as well as consumer engagement, content analytics and most recently in data optimization. His career began as a wedding, bar mitzvah, and Sweet 16 DJ where he learned the delicate balance of crowd energy management. Quickly, this skill made him incredibly successful in managing online sales for Geico. He joined CPXi at its startup stage as employee number 4 and has been a key driver of continued growth. His unique knowledge of what converts in the digital ad space, the application of data, and how to optimize platforms for efficiency continues to be invaluable to Digital Remedy clients. Today, Jeff is responsible for innovating and optimizing all Digital Remedy offerings including platforms, systems, tools, and internal processes—ensuring the organization remains on the precipice of the marketplace.

Mike Juhas

Mike Juhas, has over 13+ years of experience in ad tech client services, working with brands, agencies, and publishers ranging from top 10 advertisers to small regional organizations, to rep firms, holding companies and independent shops. An integral member of the Digital Remedy team, Juhas leads all client relationships, including facilitating onboarding and integration, establishing relationship protocols, overseeing Quarterly Business Reviews and status meetings, navigating financial coordination, and overseeing 24/7 team support. His specialties include consultative services, planning strategy, and account management disciplines. Juhas lives in New Canaan, CT with his wife and two daughters, and their dog, Perry–the unofficial company mascot.

TJ Sullivan

TJ Sullivan has over 20 years of media sales and leadership experience. His knowledge of the digital media landscape, ability to develop strategic solutions that solve brand challenges, and talent for motivating sales teams, have made him a vital member of several media and ad tech organizations. Before joining Digital Remedy, Sullivan was VP, Connections at iHeart Media, a cross-divisional group that enabled national advertisers to seamlessly work with multiple iHeart business units; CRO of Reelcontent, a video distribution company for brands; SVP of sales at AdoTube, a video ad network; and was Co-Founder and SVP of video measurement company, OpenSlate—for which he is still an advisor.

Sullivan had served as the President of 212, New York’s Interactive Advertising Club, and currently advises many early stage start-ups in the programmatic and video space. Notably, RUN (sold to Publicis in 2014), Futures Media, Transmit.Live, and Kubient.

Outside of his work in the media industry, Sullivan sits on the Board of St. Elizabeth School in Wyckoff, New Jersey and the Advancement Committee of St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, New Jersey. He resides in New Jersey with his wife and four children.

IP Zone: Leverage the relationship between users and the location of their IP addresses in a cookie-free, safe and scalable way.

Behavioral: Combine first party with network analytics and enormous scale to define custom audience channels that are optimized to sites with high brand engagement.

Demographic: Reach the right audience based on demographic characteristics such as age, gender and income.

Mobile Device: Target users by mobile device type (Smartphone, tablet, etc.), carrier and operating system.

Geo-Location: Target your audience residential cluster, proximity to retail locations, campaign level DMAs and more.

Contextual: Place a relevant ad in front of a user who is reading content that contains specific terms.

Buying Power and Quality

Let’s be honest. Your ad ops are limited by your access to only a handful of channels and DSPs. You want more reach and better prices, but don’t want to sacrifice quality in order to achieve those goals. Digital Remedy has access to a vast multitude of channels based on relationships we’ve cultivated over nearly 20 years in business. That means we get the best prices, have personal relationships, and don’t get sent to voicemail when we call.

It also means that we can execute omni-channel ad ops for better prices than an internal team, while ensuring the quality is up to industry standards. On top of access to all sorts of specific audiences we’re able to to leverage first- and third-party data across all your campaigns and pivot across platforms based on results. Any campaign, any budget, any platform, any audience. Digital Remedy backed by AdReady is restriction free ad ops….and what could be better than that?

Resources, Time, and Overhead

When was the last time you enjoyed balancing budgets, reading resumes, dealing with aggressive sales teams, or wasting years of time for small gains in performance. By partnering with Digital Remedy you get the full support of $30m in OPEX including marketing teams, sales teams, and a dedicated 24/7 ad operations team. No hiring new employees for media optimization, business development, or account management. No months of training and on-boarding. No long meetings crafting sales materials. Just your team focused on making deals, and our teams and tech focused on supporting and executing those deals in a tech-enabled, digital ecosystem designed to get the most out of any KPI.

Reporting and Support

How nice would it be to have all of your data and insights in one location. We don’t mean an excel sheet sent out once a week with complicated charts, or an XML file with pages and pages and pages of tables (what is this, 2003?). We mean a fully customizable dashboard reporting in real time, or as real time as possible. You get to decide the how, what, and when of the reporting you’re seeing. And that’s ALL of the how, what, and when’s. If you want to see breakouts of all of the individual campaigns in your system, done. If you want broad scope comparisons of all of the campaigns in the last year, done. If you want to see CTR’s for specific audiences and compare them to CPM for your best performing advertiser but limit the scope to campaigns greater than 30k, done. All of this is at your fingertips with the AdReady Dashboard, all in one place.

Jessica Cortapasso

With more than a decade of experience in human capital management, Jessica Cortapasso serves as SVP, People at Digital Remedy. After graduating from Muhlenberg College, she quickly recognized her passion for people and entered the workforce in Human Resources where she gained expertise in employee relations, designing strategic benefit plans, and the development, implementation, and curation of corporate engagement initiatives for big-name brands and small companies alike. Becoming a member of the Digital Remedy family in 2013 while simultaneously acquiring her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management and Development from New York University, Jessica has steered company culture through significant events ranging from acquisitions and a rebranding, to the development and application of our Core Values that shape our daily business practices. Cortapasso resides in Brooklyn, plays competitive volleyball, and loves spending time with her nieces.

Erez Feld

Responsible for the financial and legal practices of Digital Remedy, Erez brings 22 years of experience in precision financial analysis, growth management practices, strategic acquisition, and investment leadership. A graduate of Hofstra University, Erez began his career modeling for corporate finance, and expanded his accounting prowess in the real estate sector. Erez joined Digital Remedy in 2008 as a senior accountant, and helped to create and build an accounting department that could support the rapid growth of the company and aligned with those needs. Over the past 12 years he has evolved through various positions at the company within the finance discipline, supervising and mentoring additional finance personnel, while growing under the tutelage of Michael Fleischman, former CFO of Digital Remedy. Today, he leads the Finance Department by supporting high-level projects such as acquisitions and restructuring, and is responsible for overseeing all financial assets, establishing financial procedures, controls, and reporting systems.

Michael Fleischman

After a successful career as an accomplished Fortune 500 financial professional leading Corporate Finance and Strategic Planning at Cablevision Systems Corporation and its programming subsidiary Rainbow Media Holdings, Michael currently plays a role in the overall management of Digital Remedy including direct responsibility for all financial-related activities including accounting, financial planning, M&A, legal, insurance, real estate and banking relationships. Michael brings more than 25 years of media experience at Cablevision and Rainbow Media and during his career was instrumental in the launching and managing of a number of cable television networks including 10 Regional Sports Networks across the US, American Movie Classics, Bravo, and the Independent film channel as well as the structuring of corporate partnerships with companies including Liberty Media, NBC, Fox/NewsCorp and MGM. Additionally, he was the finance lead on a number of professional sports team acquisitions including Madison Square Garden, the successful IPO of Cablevision and a tracking stock at Rainbow Media.Michael was involved in the creation and launch of Rainbow Advertising Sales which was one of the Cable Industry’s first Local Advertising Sales Divisions.

Tony Pascal

With over two decades of experience in the design, product, and technology space, Tony joined Digital Remedy as a graphic designer in 2007. His responsibilities quickly expanded, landing him in leadership roles across multiple disciplines including creative direction, analytics, monetization optimization, and management of platform development. He continued to grow with the organization over the last fourteen years, overseeing all design, development, and execution of Digital Remedy products and platforms. In his current role as SVP, Product & Technology, Tony leads product and technology development for the company and acts as the go-to liaison across teams, ensuring alignment on all aspects of internal and client-facing technology initiatives.

Prior to Digital Remedy, Tony built and ran his own direct response company from 2002-2007 after graduating from New York Institute of Technology, where he learned the fundamentals of digital advertising and optimization strategies that still remain relevant today.

In a previous life, Tony was a ski instructor and still remains an avid skier today. When he is not leading product development, he can be found working on old cars, rock climbing and hitting the slopes.

Gayle Meyers

Gayle Meyers is an entrepreneur, venture partner, investor, and operating resource in the digital media and marketing industry, with over two decades of executive leadership experience. After launching a management consulting firm, Growthing which is focused on optimizing growth strategies for executive leaders and their organizations, Meyers has frequently been tapped for high-profile consulting and advisory positions to help marketing technology companies enhance their in-market presence.

“Gayle is widely recognized as a leading strategist with years of expertise in the ad tech space,” said Mike Seiman, Chairman and CEO of Digital Remedy. “Her career in discovering and integrating game-changing technologies in the marketing industry will serve as an invaluable resource as we continue to enhance our product suite in the months ahead.”

With expertise spanning multiple disciplines, Meyers frequently serves as a keynote speaker at industry conferences for companies such as Google, Verizon, Omnicom, LiveRamp, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Oracle. A list of her notable past clients who have benefitted from her unique insights to increase shareholder value includes Tinuiti (acquired by New Mountain Capital), Adometry (acquired by Google), MediaForge (acquired by Rakuten), Integral Ad Science (acquired by Vista Equity Partners), and Tapad (acquired by Telenor).

Matt Sotebeer

With 14+ years of experience in ad tech and emerging technologies, Matt Sotebeer brings an uniquely innovative approach in his role as Chief Strategy Officer at Digital Remedy. As CSO, Matt focuses on the intersection between the product, product marketing, tech, data, and sales teams, while fostering productive cross-functional company-wide relationships to inform and influence sales, educate clients, and optimize company performance.

Matt has an extensive knowledge in the integration of data science, creative, and media solutions to drive sustainable growth for companies, with a focus on designing customized, scalable solutions leveraging machine learning alongside human intelligence. Throughout the tenure of his career, he has successfully managed global teams aligned to common goals, encouraged collaborative problem solving, and supported talent growth for entrepreneurial companies including MiQ, Rocket Fuel, and Audience Science.

Jeremy Haft

A proven strategic, revenue, and team leader with over 20 years of experience managing and scaling revenue in the competitive ad tech landscape, Jeremy serves as Chief Revenue Officer at Digital Remedy.

Before joining the team in October 2022, he served as CRO at Channel Factory, where he reorganized the revenue team for sustainable growth and increased the sales team by 3x to drive predictable and more accountable revenue. Prior to that, he served in a decade of leadership positions. Most notably, as SVP of Sales at Amobee and as VP of North America Sales at Viant/Adelphic. At both organizations, Jeremy successfully built and scaled platform and business solutions from their infancy to achieve the desired corporate goals.

Jeremy graduated from The University of Vermont and currently resides in New Jersey with his wife and two children. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling to tropical locations, dining out, cooking feasts with friends, and any new fitness trend he can get his hands on.

Randall Rothenberg

Randall Rothenberg has been a prominent leader in marketing, media, and advertising for 40 years. Most recently, he led the transformation of the IAB into one of the largest and most potent media and marketing trade bodies in the world, helping to develop technical standards, self-regulation, government regulation, market and consumer research, global digital content marketplaces, and professional development programs. Under his leadership, IAB opened the industry’s first major public policy office in Washington, D.C., launched the IAB Tech Lab to oversee digital marketing technical standards, started an industry-leading training program that has certified more than 14,000 digital media sales professionals, created the IAB Digital Newfronts and Podcast Upfronts, and published comprehensive research on brand disruption, the evolution of video, and the economic impact of the ad-supported Internet ecosystem. During Rothenberg’s 14 years as CEO, IAB quadrupled its association membership and quintupled revenue.

Randall has served on numerous nonprofit and commercial boards, including the Ad Council, the Columbia Journalism Review, the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council, the Chamber of Progress, the International Center of Photography, and the Executive Advisory Board of EDO, Inc. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University with an A.B. in the classics.

He is also an avid nature, urban, and portrait photographer—and Jazz guitarist.

Martin Kristiseter

Martin Kristiseter is an accomplished entrepreneur and digital executive with over 18 years of experience in digital media, ad technology, and programmatic solutions. He currently serves as the Managing Director of Compulse, a marketing technology and managed services company built for local media and agencies.

Prior to Compulse, Krisitiseter launched the digital advertising business at Marketron that transformed a declining revenue management & radio traffic business (SaaS) into a growth company through Pitch — an omni-channel workflow, sales enablement, fulfillment, and reporting platform for media companies.

He is a graduate of the University of Colorado, where he earned a BA and MBA in Finance.