8 reasons restaurants need a kiosk strategy

Bruce Rasmussen of Ingenico Group discusses eight reasons why restaurants need a kiosk strategy

Customers today have become very tech savvy and expect the same level of technological sophistication wherever they shop. In this fast-paced environment, consumers are looking to buy things quickly — one primary reason that unattended kiosks are becoming more common in foodservice, particularly for restaurants.

The interactive kiosk market is rapidly growing, with about a third of that market representing kiosks for food and beverage, making this the single largest sector in the category. McDonald's, for instance, is a pioneer in this area. The brand installed kiosks at many of its French outlets more than a decade ago and it is now slowly rolling them out in their U.S. restaurants. Other big chains, including Wendy's, Jack in the Box and Taco Bell, are also looking to jump on the kiosk bandwagon. 

Why? A good deal of data suggests kiosks help boost restaurant business. So it makes sense to develop a kiosk strategy for your brand, if you haven't already because these tools can yield the following benefits: 

Shorter wait times

Most restaurants are busy places at meal times, with the kind of long lines that can easily deter potential customers. Today's digital kiosks offer full immersive experiences, where customers can see all menu options on a large touchscreen display, then order and pay easily and securely. This process saves wait time for regular customers who know what they want.

Heightened order accuracy

Mistakes happen and often improper or incorrect food preparations occurs as the result of mistakes along the ordering process, from cashiers who incorrectly enter order specifics or fail to hear customers well to any number of order information relay errors. Digital kiosks give customers easy and accurate ways to customize orders and ensure the accuracy before payment and order submission. 

Improved data collection capabilities

Kiosks allow restaurant operators to capture large amounts of data on their customers' buying habits. For instance, current solutions allow restaurant owners to track everything from in-restaurant traffic and meal purchasing patterns, to most frequently searched menu items and many more. Quicker ordering also affords merchants better opportunities to capture additional customer data via short surveys on without holding up a line.

Easier loyalty program enrollment

Loyalty programs are customer relationship strengtheners and are phenomenally easy to enroll in and use from a kiosk touchscreen display.

More targeted upselling

Kiosk software can be programmed to inquire whether customers wish to add specific side items, resulting in higher average overall check totals. 

Reduced labor costs

Restaurants that put kiosks in place give operators new latitude to lower their labor costs by reallocating restaurant staff to areas where they can better benefit the business and be more productive, yielding net gains in both labor productivity and costs. 

Payment versatility

Modern kiosks securely accept all card-based payments, including -EMV, magstripe and NFC/contactless, giving consumers that level of choice that is so important to building loyalty. 

Customer experience improvement

Many restaurant customers are either busy or prefer not to interact with restaurant staff, particularly younger Gen Z and millennial patrons. Kiosks take that person-to-person interaction out of the equation, while simultaneously reducing the chances of human error and typically cutting the time to purchase. All told, that adds up to a better overall customer experience. 

The potential benefits make it clear that restaurant operators with a mind for the future of their businesses are wise to set down some plans for kiosks now, if not a full-blown business strategy. 

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