How Self-Serve Kiosks Are Revolutionizing the Restaurant Industry

As often happens with new technology, when self-service kiosks first came onto the screen only the elite could afford them: household names like McDonalds and Panera. As they continued to develop, however, these kiosks became cheaper and thus more commonplace. Now small and medium-sized businesses have access to the same incredible technology that previously only giants in the field could possess—and this is revolutionizing the food service industry.

cashier-at-a-restaurant-3801429 (1)At most, kiosks themselves cost a couple hundred dollars. Though that sounds expensive, compare that to what your cashiers make in a full eight-hour shift, and in just a few days, the kiosks pay for themselves.

It’s not just about saving money, either; these kiosks can analyze which menu items are most popular, what modifications or add-ons sell the best, your busiest and slowest days and times, and more. This helps determine when and what to promote and whether adjusting prices will better maximize your profit margin. With all this potential, no wonder kiosks are one of the best opportunities for growth—which is why 41% of the hospitality industry have already invested in them (Orpilla, 2019).

Kiosks are the “perfect cashier.” They upsell to every customer based on what they add to their individual orders; you can program it to know which items pair well together and make those suggestions when someone adds one of the predetermined dishes to their cart. People are more likely to customize and add to their purchase when they don’t fear judgement from somebody else, so using a machine to upsell leads to a significant boost in profits. Despite selling larger volumes of food, kiosks take orders faster and more accurately while still eliminating lines; and if you reallocate workers’ labor toward food prep, more orders can get filled in the same amount of time. Basically, kiosks don’t just save money—they make more money, too.

Still, a major concern with advancements like this is job elimination. But kiosks won’t get rid of cashiers; rather, those employees can now focus on more meaningful tasks that maximize their individual skill sets. Areas that frequently underperform thus receive more attention and the few cashiers that remain improve customers’ experiences by helping with the kiosks, addressing questions and concerns, and checking up on diners to make sure their needs are being met. This not only improves customer satisfaction but makes for happier, more fulfilled employees—and contented employees stick around.

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Customers benefit, too, beyond reduced wait times. The personalized nature of self-service is highly attractive; kiosks can analyze the weather, locate nearby events taking place, log the time of day and more, and then recommend the perfect meal based on factors that are harder for employees to evaluate. Thanks to A.I., this could even grow to eventually include facial recognition software, further personalizing the experience by considering factors like mood. If a customer looks tired, maybe the kiosk recommends a coffee for an additional pick-me-up. All of this leads to a greater number of sales.

Even without A.I., kiosks increase average check size by up to 30% (Neiman, 2019). Part of this is because their analytical capacity contributes to loyalty programs. Regulars can track their reward points on screen and adjust their order accordingly. If someone always gets the same thing, they might see an option to re-order their usual. Simultaneously, a kiosk will never mess up; increased accuracy keeps customers happy and reduces the time and effort that cashiers would otherwise spend double-checking or fixing wrong orders. Having data on each customer improves targeted marketing, makes the ordering process quicker and more efficient which improves customer satisfaction, and generates faster turnaround for getting food on the table.

Society is constantly moving forward, and technology only proliferates. These kiosks cater to modern consumers who are eager to grow with evolving tech, and who enjoy the ease and efficiency of self-service. As kiosks improve, they will surely go from a pleasant benefit to an industry expectation. Now that they’re becoming more affordable, and considering the massive beneficial impact they have, why not propel your business forward into the future?

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References:

[1] Orpilla, Hope. “Why You Should Leverage Kiosks for Self-Ordering in Hospitality.” StarMicronics, Star Micronics, 19 December 2019, https://www.starmicronics.com/blog/self-service-kiosks-in-hospitality/

 

[2] Neiman, Hope. “Why are self-order kiosks on a roll in U.S. restaurants?” Kiosk Marketplace, Kiosk Marketplace, 18 September 2019, https://www.kioskmarketplace.com/blogs/why-are-self-order-kiosks-on-a-roll-in-us-restaurants/

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