In a market all about experience and efficiency, self-order kiosks are taking off in restaurants like never before. They’ve transformed checking in with airlines, ordering at McDonald’s, and buying groceries.
Now kiosks are starting to pop up everywhere in the hospitality industry – from QSRs to dine-in restaurants.
But how effective are they when it comes to sales, and do customers really like ordering from restaurant self-service kiosks?
As businesses move towards better-integrated technology to keep up with changing demands, self-order kiosks have proven themselves to be a powerful piece of technology to improve customer satisfaction. A self-service kiosk allows you to give your guests control over their ordering experience, cut down on lines, and process orders faster.
Even in full-service restaurants where self-service kiosks may not traditionally seem to fit, restaurants are finding that they help reduce wait times, improve order accuracy, and boost spending across the board.
We’ve put together everything you need to know about self-order kiosks and how they might just be your secret weapon.
What is a Self-Ordering Kiosk?
As the name suggests, a self-ordering kiosk - or self-service kiosk, as the names are used interchangeably - is a piece of restaurant technology that allows customers to browse the menu, place their order, and pay.
The system should be operated with an easy-to-use touchscreen that guides customers through the ordering process.
This interface is completely customizable, so restaurants can integrate menu modifiers, add-on options, and suggestions.
Self-ordering restaurant kiosks usually supplement a traditional counter ordering system, but some businesses have even used them to completely replace face-to-face ordering.
Why Self-Ordering Kiosks Are on the Rise
Self-ordering kiosks are proving successful because they’re a win-win for customers and businesses.
It’s no secret that customers prefer to control their experience. They want to choose payment options, and whether to place a contactless order; they want to choose between seeing a cashier or ordering from a dedicated app, or a restaurant kiosk. Being able to put that control back in their hands is integral to shaping the restaurant experience today.
The transition towards self-service technology has been growing across the globe for years, and the numbers continue to show higher guest satisfaction rates.
Recent surveys have shown that customers of every age group like the trend toward digital in-house ordering. In fact, 60% of the respondents said they would visit a restaurant more often if it offered self-ordering kiosks.
Restaurants who are following customer trends are implementing more technology into their ordering process, too.
From a business perspective, self-order kiosk solutions help improve workflow efficiency, increase sales, and help keep customers and staff socially distanced. They also free your restaurant workers to focus on serving their patrons and reduce the risk of errors in the ordering process.
Self-ordering kiosks are on the rise because they help everyone: they upgrade your customer experience while helping businesses earn more.
Benefits of Self-Ordering Kiosks for Restaurants
Improving your restaurant’s digital stack helps improve efficiency. Integrated POS systems mean better communication, streamlined kitchen flow, and faster service for customers.
Self-ordering kiosks are the cherry on top of your POS stack.
They can help bring your restaurant to the next level of efficiency and impact by boosting sales, cutting down on labour costs, improving accuracy, and making your whole front-of-house process faster.
The numbers really say it all here. Across the board, self-order kiosks are helping QSRs boost profits. Incorporating automatic add-ons through kiosks results in 40-50% higher checks on average, a product of an improved customer experience, upsell prompts, and a smoother transaction experience.
Taco Bell, for example, saw a direct correlation in larger order sizes when customers were offered add-ons.
Simple additions that improve meals – like extra sour cream or cheese – may only be an extra 50 cents, but continuously selling extras can result in huge profits for restaurants over time. And they can make sure that the dining experience is one that makes customers want to return to your restaurant.
McDonald’s reported that restaurants that offered restaurant self-service kiosks saw a 5-6% rise in sales. A huge part of that increase at McDonald’s is down to drink orders. When using a self-order kiosk, 20% of customers who didn’t initially order a drink changed their mind when it was offered through the kiosk.
Chilli’s similarly reported a 20% increase in dessert sales thanks to implementing kiosks because their system would alert customers of the opportunity to round out their meal with dessert.
Self-ordering takes away the social pressure of communicating at the counter, too. Kiosks can provide more independence and privacy to help customers feel more confident and open to trying and tasting more items. Altering patrons to promotions and discounts has a similar function, inviting them to explore options on the screens that they might not have considered and take advantage of multi-buy deals.
The result is bigger check sizes and increased overall spending, which makes for great business.
Decreased Wait Times
By the time a line reaches 10 people, 91% of customers will give up and leave without ordering. That’s a huge percentage of lost sales and frustrated guests.
To speed up ordering really means removing confusion and communication barriers. Self-order kiosks are a solution that empowers customers to carve their own experience.
No miscommunication at the counter, no back-and-forth order confirmations, no uncomfortable eavesdropping on others' orders. Self-ordering kiosks help reduce friction from the ordering process, and the benefits of this solution are clear.
For QSRs, Appetize found that implementing self-service kiosks reduced ordering time by 40%. That means less waiting time in line, happier customers, and more orders placed throughout the day.
Enhance Order Accuracy
As with any customer service industry, restaurants are traditionally social enterprises. They have always depended on face-to-face communication, which comes with a constant (and costly) potential for human error. Whether you're looking at the best restaurants, food trucks, independent restaurants, or giant franchises, each can benefit from reducing error and delivering a better customer experience.
Self-ordering kiosks help bypass that extra level of communication where information can get lost.
Self-ordering kiosks allow customers to order directly and confirm their selections. “The customer is always right” takes on a whole new meaning when the customer has total power over their own service experience. This is similarly why online ordering and food delivery has risen in popularity in the last five years: it allows customers control over what they want in a way that's difficult to get wrong.
Save Money on Labor
Self-ordering kiosks can reduce the number of front-of-house staff needed to handle ordering in a restaurant. You can cut down on front-of-house support and reallocate that staff time to making processes behind the scenes more efficient, such as food preparation and focusing on other service solutions.
Plus, with shorter wait times and fewer order mistakes, you’ll also cut down on managerial time that would have been spent fixing problems and communicating with customers.
Keep Staff and Customers Safe
Even as pandemic regulations start to disappear, attention to health and hygiene continues to sit at the top of the list of customer concerns. In fact, 39% of restaurant customers consider health and safety their top priority.
By limiting face-to-face interactions, self-order kiosks provide a safer option for customers practicing social distancing. They also help minimize contact between staff and the public, keeping employees as safe as possible.
Self-ordering kiosks mean more intuitive, streamlined customer service. Shorter lines, faster service, no miscommunication. The popularity of kiosks is exploding not just among QSRs, but across all hospitality industries. When airlines first implemented self-service kiosks in 2004, only 20% of customers used them to check in. Just eight years later, 80% of customers were using kiosks instead of checking in at the counter.
Customers are increasingly expecting more personalized, efficient service. Self-ordering kiosks can be the answer to keeping customers happy and coming back for more.
Self-ordering kiosks are part of your integrated POS system, connecting every facet of your restaurant business.
Your POS stores the information from each order and customer. Information about how and when guests choose certain items and add-ons, plus which marketing tools are most effective can all be accessed and analyzed through your POS system. Self-ordering kiosks add another layer to collecting the data that helps you make more informed decisions for your business.
When customers order through a kiosk, they can opt to enter their details, stack loyalty points, or join a membership club. These options not only help businesses grow their customer database but also help personalize their experience.
When guests return to a restaurant they love and show their loyalty to, they can expect to see their favourite items highlighted or new suggestions displayed prominently. Self-ordering kiosks help track customer insights, sync loyalty programs, and automate a personalized experience for returning guests.
What to Look for When Purchasing a POS Kiosk
There is an overwhelming amount of information and choice when it comes to POS software, and it can be hard to know what to look for.
You’ll need to invest in an integrated technology stack that stores your data in one centralized location. It’s important to have the ability to customize your platform, track ordering trends, and be able to connect your software across multiple venues and spaces.
Here’s your guide to choosing the best POS kiosk for your business:
Every brand offers a unique opportunity for customers to engage and purchase. Embracing that uniqueness is hard if your digital presence looks like everyone else’s.
To help your restaurant business stand out from the crowd, it’s essential to customize your digital interface to suit your service and brand.
You’ll want to choose a POS kiosk that allows you full control of the front-end experience. That means tailoring the touchpoints, visuals, flow, and design of your self-ordering kiosk to reflect your business and your customers.
An integrated POS kiosk system should not only store your customer and sales data, but should also track it in real-time. To make the most of your technology stack, choose a provider that allows managers to analyze performance at any time.
Tracking results gives you immediate insight into how well new marketing initiatives or process changes are working.
There’s a lot to manage. Every facet of the ordering experience can affect your sales and customer retention rate. It’s important to be able to easily manage and make changes to your menu, images, prices, and products.
The kiosk platform from TASK applies world-class software with an intuitive management interface that’s easy to use.
In the US and Canada over the last year, 43% of hospitality operators acknowledged that new technology has been critical for their business to succeed.
Digital operations are no longer a helpful option to restaurant owners – they’re a necessary tool to keep up in a rapidly changing industry. Investing in a fully integrated POS system that connects and tracks information and insights from every touchpoint will save you money and frustration in the long term. A self-ordering kiosk is one element of a wider technology stack that can drastically improve sales, customer loyalty, and workflow efficiency.
It’s important to choose a POS system that will support self-ordering kiosks across a range of venues, services, and industries – supporting your business to expand across multiple vertices.
Whether you need touchpoints suited to casinos, stadiums, QSRs and fast dining services, franchise groups, or largescale food service providers, the centralized software from TASK can support your business.
Restaurant service by nature is constantly evolving. Changing customer demands, shortages in food supply, and shifting costs can mean permanent and temporary menu and price changes.
A top-notch POS system will make it easy and efficient to make modifications to your customer-facing platforms, even across many self-ordering kiosks and locations.
Freedom to browse
The most effective self-ordering kiosks are those that give customers the power to create their own unique restaurant experience. Using a customized platform with imaging that makes your brand shine can help make browsing a menu fun and inspiring for your customers.
Rather than a means to an end, the ordering process can be seen presented as an invitation to explore. Kiosks give customers the independence and space to take full advantage of the platform and discover items they otherwise wouldn’t have. That process not only gives your guests a positive, interactive experience, but it also can lead to increased sales and higher average customer spending.
The hospitality industry has seen some huge changes in the last ten years. Labour shortages, health concerns, plus customers demanding more personalised products and quicker service. To keep up, restaurants are turning to smart centralized technology.
When it comes to ordering, customers want to see more efficient methods that prioritize customizable options, efficiency, and accuracy. Self-ordering kiosks have taken off like never before, and they’re encouraging higher turnover, increased sales, and a better customer experience.
Whether you’re looking for a way to cut down on lines or offer safer ordering options, self-ordering kiosks might be the solution for your business.
Explore how you can use integrated POS technology with self-ordering kiosks to strengthen your restaurant and boost sales by talking to the expert team at TASK.