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To understand what the new generation of self-order kiosks can mean to your restaurant, cafeteria or even food truck, start with the meaning and origin of the word kiosk itself. It harks back centuries, traveling through the languages of Persia, Turkey, France and Germany, originally conveying an intriguing sense of “open pavilions.” That openness and hint of adventure – and the ability to open up new experiences and opportunities for customers and foodservice providers alike – is why kiosks are catching on so quickly.

Kiosks put the customer experience in your customer’s hands

Today’s customers like to be in control, and they gravitate toward experiences that let them personalize and simplify (in fact, research shows that consumers in general are even willing to pay a premium for products and services that simplify their complex lives). Self-order kiosks, leveraging the familiarity consumers now have with touchscreen interfaces, make it easy for you and your customers to customize everything from ingredients to special offers. This tailors the overall experience to your clientele’s wishes and helps ensure that it will simple, smooth and time-efficient.

Kiosks are catching on with foodservice players large and small

Those kind of benefits, and more, are why major players such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s and the fast-growing Shake Shack are innovating with self-order kiosks. In addition to providing an improved ordering experience, kiosks help restaurants further their push toward automation, digitization and integration across sales opportunities. Panera Bread, for instance, incorporates kiosks as part of an overall digital initiative that encompasses ordering via kiosks in restaurants, plus delivery and even catering facilitated via mobile or online ordering. The result? Thirty per cent of revenues are already coming from the digital sphere.

Thanks to the “democratization of digital,” the power and potential of kiosks is also available to much smaller restaurants. The LI Pour House Bar and Grill, on Long Island, took its first step toward being a self-serve restaurant with the installation of an automated “craft beer wall” that made it both faster and more fun for patrons to get their beer. Self-order tabletop kiosks soon followed, allowing easy, real-time updating of menu items and offers. The owner selected kiosks specifically designed for small operations, and he reports that customers like them and, as with other users he originally consulted, they can even increase the amount of the average tab.

Foodservice kiosks deliver a whole menu of benefits

The rapid expansion of kiosk technology in the foodservice industry is driven by a multitude of business benefits. They start with improved customer experience (from shorter wait times during peak hours to personalized orders and offers) – but they extend to every aspect of operations, providing streamlined, seamless operation, from app to instore to kitchen and accounting.

Achieving success in the restaurant business these days is a tall order – and one that kiosks will increasingly fill.


SOURCES
Kiosk Marketplace: Self-order kiosks make a big splash
Fast Casual: Self-order kiosks don’t just help big chains
QSR: How to cash in on self-ordering kiosks
Etymology Online Dictionary: https://www.etymonline.com/word/kiosk
Global Brand Simplicity Index: http://simplicityindex.com