Forecasting the Future of Self Serve Kiosks in QSR Operations

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Self Serve Kiosks are captivating customers and revolutionizing how we order

Quick service restaurants are witnessing a swift shift from traditional cashier-operated POS systems to Self Serve Kiosks, which empower customers to place orders independently. Presenting a significant departure from the counter-to-customer POS service model, Self Serve Kiosks are standalone customer-operated touchscreen monitor stations. Quickly evolving from large cumbersome single-function devices, Self Serve Kiosks now come in sleek shapes and provide an intuitive and user-friendly customer experience.

Nowadays, customers are entering their favorite quick service restaurants to find intriguing new Self Serve Kiosk stations with vibrant displays inviting them to place their order without approaching a busy counter (where they’re typically greeted by a rushed or disgruntled employee). The experience of using the kiosks is immediately satisfying, as customers are presented with options they feel empowered to order without compromise.

Successful Self Serve Kiosk interface design leverages alluring visuals with GUI that is intuitive and hassle-free. Navigation is linear, guiding users from each stage of their transaction to the next, with clear call-to-action. More advanced Kiosks will also awaken users’ other senses through the incorporation of sound and touch response – like clicking buttons or vibration. These additional stimuli further engage users and provide satisfaction in realizing they are closer to completing their objective. Optimal Kiosks will utilize a variety of easily identifiable cues to get the user through their selection quickly.

The draw of Self Serve Kiosks is spreading to proprietors of institutional cafeterias and even independent restaurants, indicative of the sweeping changes to come. The popularity of Self Serve Kiosks is not surprising due to the many benefits they provide to customers and retailers alike. KBV Research has reported that the global Kiosk market size is expected to reach $5.4 billion by 2024, surging at a market growth of 26.4% CAGR during this forecast period.

To kiosk or not to kiosk?

Benefits of Self Serve Kiosks

The vast benefits that Self Serve Kiosks present are fueling a rapid transition. Retailers are catching on to the many ways in which Self Serve Kiosks introduce new opportunities to improve customer experience and their bottom line.

To name a few:

Customer Benefits

  • Empower customers
  • Increase order accuracy
  • User-friendly visual navigation
  • Reduce wait time
  • Reduce confusion / miscommunication
  • Expedite the payment process
  • Provide privacy

Restaurant Business Benefits

  • Increase efficiency
  • Ease of up-sell & cross-sell
  • Operate 24/7
  • Increase average ticket size
  • Reduce error
  • Reduce labor costs
  • Minimize theft
  • Mine data, inventory, and customer behavior

Companies as influential as McDonald’s and KFC can attest to these benefits, as their positive experience has propelled them into the rapid implementation of Self Serve Kiosks across their stores worldwide. McDonald’s CEO and President Steve Easterbrook revealed to CNBC that customers visited more frequently, stayed longer, and were more engaged with the brand. At Volanté we know this to be true, as installations of Self Serve Kiosks for our clients has resulted in a 22% growth in the average transaction size. The typical break-even for restaurants upon implementing Volanté Self Serve Kiosks occurs within 3 months.

“We can’t get there quick enough in the US” – Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s CEO & President

Psychology of Self Serve Kiosks

Fundamentally, perhaps the most interesting phenomenon introduced by Self Serve Kiosks is the way they change customer behavior. It’s a simple psychology – people will buy more when presented with a Self Serve solution. The touchscreens provide an empowering experience that can be playful, fun and engaging. Self Service liberates customers through customization, convenience and privacy, as they’re able to order exactly what they want without risk of miscommunication or perceived embarrassment.

What happens after a Kiosk order is placed?

Once the order is completed, the kiosk will dispense a receipt containing the order number. Order information is transmitted instantly to the kitchen and entered into the queue. Updates to the queue are made in conjunction with the status of the kitchen’s order preparation. When the meal preparation is completed, customers will see an order notification that their food is ready to grab. There is no ambiguity at any point from the customer’s perspective.

Supported Peripherals

Self Serve Kiosks provide compatibility for integration with third-party systems and devices. Kiosks are now expandable, able to support a number of peripheral devices.

Some of these include:

  • Barcode Scanner
  • Weight Scale
  • RFID Reader
  • Kitchen Display
  • MSR
  • Receipt Printer
  • Pin Pad
  • ADA Touchpads (for wheelchair accessibility)
Disadvantages of Self Serve Kiosks

Below are some potential disadvantages to consider before introducing Self Serve Kiosk systems:

  1. Technology lacks flexibility to handle nuances outside of the standard framework
  2. Customers take on a greater share of the work
  3. Loss of jobs (however, many large fast food companies claim this will not be the case for them, as existing employees move to table service)
  4. Loss of customer interaction on a personal level

Loss of personal connection is one of the most notable objections to Self Serve Kiosks. Through traditional person-to-person interaction, customers are able to see what is being done for them. Customer interaction adds intangible value and a connection with the business. Automation often conceals the work and time that goes into fulfilling a customer’s order. This is particularly the case with Self Serve Kiosks, as the technology is designed to make service appear easy, quick, and seamless. As such, customers’ appreciation for what is going on behind the scenes may diminish. Businesses introducing Kiosks must therefore redesign their existing processes and acknowledge how valuable it is to find alternate ways of representing strong company culture and productivity.

Self Serve Kiosks – the Volanté advantage

Volanté offers a fully-featured Self Serve Kiosk solution that helps advance businesses’ revenues by taking more orders, while avoiding employee errors and long customer wait times. Volanté Self Serve Kiosks are loaded with industry-leading features that make us the logical choice for taking your business to the next level.

Volanté Key Features:

  • Kiosks can be configured to accept credit cards, gift cards, vouchers, house accounts, payroll deductions, and more
  • Customers intuitively build their own meal selecting their preferred toppings and add-ons to meet their unique tastes
  • Seamlessly adapt to an ever-changing market with supported integrations and peripherals
  • Cross-sell and upsell items, resulting in larger average ticket sizes
“With exceptional ease of navigation, customers receive exactly what they want, when they want. The future technology to take orders efficiently has arrived. The Volanté Self-Serve Kiosk solution can be mixed and matched with traditional POS terminals or hand-held devices to provide outstanding ROI plus customer satisfaction.”

-Volanté Systems

So… what does the future look like for Self Serve Kiosks?

Businesses globally are in the midst of rewiring the way they operate, engaging with customers in modernized formats. With the pace of technological innovation rapidly accelerating, it’s clear that the future of checkout will certainly be automated. As customer’s become increasingly more comfortable with businesses facilitating the use of technology as an alternative to human connection, little is holding the masses back from embracing Self Serve Kiosks as the new norm.

Kiosk innovation shows no signs of stopping, with further advancements expected in the near future. KFC will be launching Kiosks with facial recognition in Beijing this year and McDonald’s will be introducing 5,000 “Experience of the Future” restaurants all around the world.

However, full migration to Kiosks won’t happen overnight. At Volanté we recommend an integrated approach to identify the best solution for your business and client needs. Contact us today to discuss your project!

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