How Kiosks are Taking Over the Food Service Industry
“Would you like fries with that?” might be a phrase of the past with many quick serve restaurants switching to new self-service ordering kiosks. But it’s not stopping technology from asking the question. With millennials becoming a major faction of the workplace, the ideals of speed, accuracy and personalization are taking precedent in deciding where to get lunch. People want food in a quick and easy way, as well as being able to get exactly what they want. As a result, many restaurants are making the switch to cashless kiosk systems at check-out, putting the customer first.
Shorter lunch breaks and longer work days require innovation in food service speed, and the addition of kiosks will decrease wait time, while cycling more customers through the ordering process. Online food ordering and delivery platforms such as Uber Eats and Caviar are ruling restaurant take out because of convenience and speed, but kiosks can help bring the focus back to sit-down, brick and mortar restaurants, and corporate cafes, keeping speed and efficiency as main ideals. In addition, a McDonald’s case study found kiosks reduce service times in fast food restaurants by nearly seven seconds, resulting in the potential market share increase of one to three percent.[i]
Customers are prioritizing getting exactly what they want, so restaurants and food service providers are following suit. Ordering on a kiosk gives the customer the power to clearly select everything in their order, from extra pickles to no onions. This also improves accuracy, as a customer can clearly input what they want, instead of relaying complicated and specific changes to a cashier.
Incorporating kiosks into our lives does not mean restaurants or cafes will lose their human touch, as many restaurants are turning their cashiers into “ambassadors,” who, instead of placing the order for the customer, will assist them in making their selection. The ambassadors facilitate easy ordering, and help the customer find exactly what they are looking for with speed and efficiency. Minimum wage hikes and labor shortages are also pushing companies to alternatives of traditional ordering structures with more of a focus on self-service systems. These systems can bring in more profit per customer, who are more likely to select an add-on via kiosk.
In an Appetize case study measuring sales at self-service kiosks against manned cashier terminals, not only did the kiosks result in more traffic, the data showed a 21 percent increase in average order size with 1.4 times more items in their cart at checkout. This all resulted in an increase of at least $5 per transaction.
Of course, one of the reasons kiosks are so attractive is that we are well into a world where cashless technology is often used for a wide range of purchases. This increases convenience, but it also increases the risk for potential credit card information theft. In this new era, it is vital security is as important as speed and convenience. Kiosks are created to be intuitive and provide the customer with a seamless dining journey. FreedomPay partners with Point of Sale (POS) vendors to make the entire experience smooth – from beginning to end, with their PCI validated, point to point encryption solution.
Expect to see continued growth with the future of kiosks. In the next five years customers can expect to see digital strategies, such as loyalty programs and surveys, within the kiosk to drive engagement. So next time you see a robot taking lunch orders, try it out, you can probably still get fries with that.[iii]