Are Fast Food Ordering Kiosks Right for Your Restaurant?
- On August 12, 2022
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Fast food ordering kiosks are becoming increasingly popular in the restaurant industry as a way to provide customers with an enhanced experience. Kiosks provide a convenient way for guests to order food and drink, as well as access menu items and other information. If you are a fast food restaurant owner, executive, etc., the possibility of implementing self-service kiosks in your restaurant is probably on your mind. Especially when a number of industry-leading fast food chains, like McDonald’s, are investing in this technology, you’re likely asking yourself if they’re right for your business.
A lot has changed over the past couple of years, including the potential for kiosks to keep quick service restaurants competitive and drive the fast food business forward. It’s important to understand what self-ordering kiosks can do for you and your guests so you can make an informed decision for your restaurant’s future.
What are fast food ordering kiosks?
Also known as a self-service kiosk, a fast food ordering kiosk is a computer-driven system that allows guests to order food and drink from an on-screen menu. Restaurant kiosks provide an alternative to standing in line to place orders with a cashier or waiting for a table to become available in a restaurant. In addition, kiosk technology is all integrated into one point-of-sale system.
Many restaurant chains are beginning to experiment with implementing kiosks in their restaurants, with good reason. Interactive, touchscreen self-serve kiosks provide customers with more options to customize and complete their orders on their own. These user-friendly ordering systems are shown to save time for customers and employees, as well as increase the opportunity to up-sell. They can also provide an easy way to promote new products, as well as keep in touch with your guests and encourage repeat visits. Ultimately, kiosks give both customers and restaurant managers more flexibility. And as the technology of these systems improves and becomes more ubiquitous, guest demand for more automation will continue to grow as well.
Benefits of fast food ordering kiosks
As more businesses in the food service industry adopt restaurant self-service kiosks and begin to see the results, the industry continues to identify more benefits that make the investment worth it. Here are some of the ways that businesses can benefit from using kiosks in their business:
- Reduced human error: Self-service ordering through a touchscreen kiosk helps reduce human error (on the part of the cashier) and increases accuracy when placing orders, resulting in fewer mistakes.
- Reduced wait times: This is another benefit of kiosks, thanks to the fact that customers can place orders at their leisure instead of having to wait in line at a counter or for their table to be ready at a restaurant. If there is a long line to order in person, customers can proceed to the kiosks, taking the bulk of the load off of your employee. This also streamlines the food delivery process, resulting in faster service for customers.
- Reduced labor costs: Automating these parts of the business also frees up time for your staff to focus on other important aspects of their job. Self-service kiosks may reduce labor costs for restaurants, while also increasing the efficiency of operations.
- Content flexibility: Because fast food ordering kiosks are digital, owners and managers have the ability to change menu items and pricing whenever necessary. This gives you the ability to react quickly to changes in demand, fluctuating cost of goods, and to keep up with industry trends.
- Dynamic service options: Kiosks offer more service options to customers who can complete their purchases at their own convenience. By providing customers with more choice and control over their ordering experience, kiosks are known to increase customer satisfaction.
- Promotions: They can also offer promotions such as discounts or specials for customers who have redeemed loyalty points, based on previous purchases, through the kiosk system.
- Flexibility for customers: Kiosks give customers more freedom and flexibility over their order selection and payment process. This allows you to streamline your ordering process and improve the customer experience.
- Preferred by customers: Consumers are now used to engaging in all different types of services and content digitally, and they are starting to expect the same modern experience from QSRs. According to Forbes, “65% of customers said they would visit a restaurant more often if self-service kiosks were offered.” Ordering kiosks provide the type of engagement that people want today and expect in the future.
These are some of the many existing benefits associated with self-service kiosks that market leaders in the QSR space are taking advantage of. Because these kiosks are software and technology-based, restaurants will also be able to easily update them with the latest features to stay ahead of the competition and keep improving customer ordering experiences.
Rising trends all point towards self-service and more tech in the QSR industry
Technology is transforming the way consumers interact with QSR businesses today. Whether this transformation manifests as online ordering, drive-thru services, or in-store kiosk ordering, technological advancements have helped QSR operations run smoother and achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction. We already know that customer trends are leaning towards a preference for restaurants for self-service kiosks. This is in large part because self-service technologies provide customers with more control over their orders and their restaurant experience.
In addition, the rising trend in incorporating self-service and contactless kiosks in restaurants was undoubtedly accelerated by the pandemic. Customers have become used to new ordering behaviors during this time, including contactless delivery services, ordering, and drive-thrus. It seems that the general sentiment is that a lot of customers find contactless service options easier and more efficient than traditional in-person service. Customers may still want to avoid human contact for the purpose of limiting the spread of Covid-19, monkeypox, or any other diseases they may be concerned about. On the other hand, some customers may simply not feel up to talking to an employee, or maybe they have a disability that makes traditional ordering an extra challenge. Whatever the cause, providing accessible restaurant kiosks is a much-appreciated service option for many customers.
One of the largest examples of the change is Taco Bell’s recent launch of Taco Bell Defy, a new drive drive-thru system that we explored in a recent blog. Instead of a single lane, chains will have multiple lanes with kiosks on each. Each restaurant will have at least two and up to six drive-thru lanes, all of which will offer contactless ordering service. Not only will customers be able to order contact-free at these new drive-thrus, but they will also receive their food through a contactless lift system that delivers it down to them from a kitchen above. This system is all about streamlining the drive-thru ordering process — reducing the amount of time customers spend in line and speeding up their order process.
Customers are becoming more accustomed to and satisfied with a digital ordering experience. With ordering times decreasing and convenience being prioritized through drive-thru experiences like Taco Bell’s, consumers will expect to have that kind of seamless experience in-restaurant and when ordering takeout as well. Many restaurant owners are looking to invest in digital kiosks to increase convenience for customers and ensure that they remain competitive during the pandemic and beyond.
How to decide if fast food ordering kiosks are right for your restaurant
Before investing in a fast food ordering kiosk, it’s important to consider the specific needs of your restaurant. If you’re a restaurant owner, executive, marketer, or the like, there are several questions you should ask yourself, and then explore with your team. By answering these questions honestly, you’ll go through a solid evaluation of whether investing in a fast food ordering kiosk is right for your business. Some of those questions include:
- Does your restaurant ever have rush hours that are difficult for your staff to handle?
- In the wake of the pandemic, do you want to offer customers more low-contact service options?
- Do you want to increase the speed of your services?
- Do you feel like your restaurant is falling behind on modernization and being up-to-date on technology use in comparison to other QSRs?
- Do you want to provide the best service suited to each individual customer?
- Do you need more ways to get your customers engaged with your brand?
If the answer to any of those questions is “yes,” then it’s time for you to look into incorporating fast food ordering kiosks into your fast-casual restaurant. Kiosks are ideal for QSRs that face a rush of customers during specific hours of the day (like lunch hours). They can offer a more streamlined and speedy service that stays on top of consumer demands. They’re also a great way to provide convenient options for customers who require low-contact service.
Digital ordering kiosks are also perfect for restaurants that want to modernize their look and feel. In addition, kiosks may even introduce new customers to your brand and increase engagement by offering quick and easy ways to share information with your audience. The fact is, fast food kiosks are becoming an industry-standard in QSRs and will continue to do so as more and more brands embrace the new technological opportunities they provide.
Contact Keyser today
Working with the team of professionals at Keyser, we can guide you through what that process looks like for your business. When you fully understand the positive impact it can have on your restaurant, you can better improve your customer experience and sales. Contact Keyser today for more information on how fast food ordering kiosks can drive your business forward.