Technology is revolutionizing the way restaurants do business, impacting how people dine, order, pay the bill and leave feedback. Potential customers looking for information about a restaurant go online to search for menus, coupons and even read reviews. Diners’ preferences for everything digital means that restaurant technology is constantly evolving to keep up, but you won’t see robots zipping around, preparing food and serving meals and drinks. However, kiosk technology is becoming more popular across many different industries.
Restaurants like Panera, Dunkin’ Donuts, Johnny Rockets and Subway are leveraging kiosk technology for higher profits, more accurate ordering, and comprehensive reporting. Popular fried chicken chain KFC announced plans to add 5,000 kiosks in 2020, according to KioskMarketplace.com. It’s easy to see why major restaurant brands are adding in kiosk technology now; self-service stations are net positive for restaurants and customers, who prefer them over waiting on line for a counter person.
This technology is changing how people order, so lines move faster, people feel comfortable purchasing more items and trying new things, and meals are prepared more accurately. Kiosk technology is on the verge of becoming mainstream, so if you haven’t deployed these stations in your restaurant yet, it’s time to explore why you should.
Comparing employees and kiosks is like playing against the computer in a race—the computer is usually the winner. Kiosks are faster and more cost-effective then counter staff, especially during busier shifts. A kiosk does the work of a counter person, but with a few differences—self-service stations aren’t particularly chatty, and they don’t earn salaries or require coverage for breaks and days off.
This doesn’t mean you can eliminate counter staff and reduce the payroll, but it does give you the flexibility to move workers around as needed. Instead of a set number of employees taking orders and scheduling more people for busier shifts, the kiosks lighten the workload so you can reallocate staff to stations that are falling behind. The first few days, weeks or months after deploying self-service technology, you’ll need one or two employees monitoring the kiosks and assisting customers entering orders for the first time.
Kiosk technology takes orders directly from the source—the customer. There’s no need to worry about employees mishearing, forgetting modifiers or accidentally entering the wrong items. Kitchen staff doesn’t need to decipher an employee’s messy handwriting and ask for clarification, or worse, take a guess if they can’t get an answer quickly enough. Instead, the order goes directly from the customer to the kitchen, which means diners can order exactly what they want and double check to make sure it was entered correctly. They can review all the modifiers, calorie counts and menu items, which is especially helpful for someone who has a complicated order that requires a lot of clicks.
When kiosk terminals are paired with a kitchen display system (KDS), the orders appear on the monitor at the appropriate prep station, so there are no paper tickets to keep track of. Instead, the orders are time stamped and displayed at the appropriate stations and bumped after they’re completed.
Kiosk technology boosts your bottom line by increasing the average order size by 15-20%, because customers have more time to view the menu and choose new items to try or be tempted by upselling/cross-selling prompts. Even the most motivated employees will sometimes forget to ask the upselling questions, which encourage larger, more profitable orders. This automated technology is a workhorse that allows you to take more orders faster and upsell on every transaction, without fail.
Putting the customer in control of the ordering process means they can take their time without feeling like they’re holding up the line. Diners who are hungrier than usual or want to indulge their cravings with a few extra items or odd modifiers will want to order discreetly at the kiosk. People craving fries slathered in mayo or six cheeseburgers with extra cheese can satisfy their hunger without feeling like employees or other customers could be judging their oversized (or strange) orders.
Kiosk technology is a veritable wealth of historical and real-time data. The system can learn customer preferences and suggest items based on previous purchases or recall previously-placed orders and suggest those items during repeat visits. Storing this information allows you to offer more relevant, profitable promotions based on customers’ actual buying habits.
Owners and managers can use real-time data to see what was sold and when, so they can make smarter, more efficient ordering decisions based on the shift, month, season, etc. Leveraging these reports gives restaurant owners more insight into their inventories and prompts them to order more when ingredient levels fall below a certain benchmark. This ensures the kitchen is never overrun with ingredients that aren’t selling or short on best-sellers.
Kiosk Technology is Revolutionizing Business
Kiosk technology is forcing restaurant owners and managers to rethink traditional business processes. Restauranteurs are always looking for new ways to achieve better productivity and more growth but in order to do that, the right systems and platforms must be in place. Touch Dynamic offers a wide-range of kiosks and other restaurant technology to help you achieve your goals. For more information about kiosks and how they can enhance your restaurant, please visit www.touchdynamic.com.