Part 2: Commercial & Customer Benefits of Self-serve. The Win-win Outcome

The 6 Proven Commercial Benefits of Self-Serve Kiosks

1. Reduce Ordering Time

While benefits to tech-savvy millennials are obvious, benefits to the restaurant vary and are largely dependent on size concept, and customer demographics. In a time of fierce competition, any effort to improve the customer experience to increase market share may be worth investing in. Couple traffic growth with improvements in average transaction value and operational efficiency, and the investment can surely have a positive return on investment.

With a larger menu, the traditional ordering process can often lead to delays in total service time. Self-serve kiosks or mobile ordering systems help customers navigate the menu with messaging that is manageable and bite-size.

2. Increase Order Accuracy

While staff may be trained to repeat back to a customer his or her order prior to processing,

order errors are still inevitable, especially with more customisation options. A visual recap of a customer’s order puts the responsibility on the customer thereby increasing accuracy.

3. Reduce Labour Costs

In certain instances, kiosks may provide labour savings if the concept allows changes to the

front-of-house structure. However, the addition of kiosks can result in the need of more front-of-house employees to aid in technical support if the user experience is not totally intuitive.

  • Alter menu prices in real-time:

4. Alter Menu Prices in Real Time

Promote or discount items to move inventory or leverage favourable food costs to the

restaurant’s bottom-line advantage. As printed menus are static and offer less flexibility,

kiosk systems, depending on the vendor, offer real-time adjustments to content.

5. Grow Order Value Through Effective Upselling

Training staff to effectively upsell multiple messages is often challenging. These digital platforms enable the restaurateur to program multiple messages based on customers’ purchase behaviour. For example, upsell extra bacon for a burger or a garlic dough balls for the pizza.

6. Push Customers to More Profitable Items

The ability to sufficiently market high priced items may be limited given the space on a printed menu. Ordering systems have no space limitations and have more room to entice customers into more profitable items through imagery and compelling item descriptions.

Who Has Succeeded and Why?

The British QSR and casual dining market has spent the last five years watching colleagues across the Pond with anticipation, excitement – and fear.

With the well noted success of Tossed and its cashless kiosk outlets across London and the clear national consumer approval of McDonalds’ kiosks, operators are now are on a fast paced plan of “catch-up”.

It is no longer a time for discussion only action.

Key Considerations

  1. The average order value placed by customers
  2. How long customers wait for their meal
  3. How accurately each meal is delivered
  4. What the staff costs are

How McDonalds Bucked the Market Trend and Increased Overall Revenue

McDonalds shaped their new strategy totally about today and tomorrow’s tech savvy consumers. Their Experience of the Future strategy looked at how their customers behave and the key experience factors that influence satisfaction in the McDonalds’ brand promise.

The smartphone is the hands of almost every quick service restaurant customer. So, aligning the McDonalds’ brand promise to that device and bringing in other convenience technologies was deployed.

The effectiveness of this strategy has been analysed by many, including Cowen’s Andrew Charles, and when measured it shows what technologies have had most impact in four key areas.

  1. Average order value: 30% increase
  2. Lower waiting time
  3. Increased order accuracy
  4. Lower staff costs

According to Andrew Charles, “McDonalds is cultivating a digital platform through mobile ordering and Experience of the Future (EOTF), an in-store technological overhaul most conspicuous through kiosk ordering and table delivery. Our analysis suggests efforts should bear fruit in 2018 with a combined 130 bps contribution to U.S. comps. We believe mobile ordering better supplements the drive-thru business where 70%+ of U.S. sales are transacted. In our view, MCD’s differentiation lies in the operational enhancements of mobile ordering that includes curbside pick-up of orders in order to not disrupt the drive-thru.”

Put simply, McDonalds are making life easier for customers through providing technologies they use in ever increasing frequency and have become native too: the mobile interface.

As most of us will have seen already these technologies, most notably self-ordering kiosks, are now in many McDonalds restaurants in the UK. The trials have been done and the increased revenues and bottom line results tested. They work.

Technology continues to drive consumer change and is rapidly changing the way our guests want to engage with restaurant operators. McDonalds, its Brand pull and power to shape the QSR consumer, means the self-serve kiosk is not only here to stay but an essential ingredient in the customer journey.

And the good news is, McDonalds has done the trials, proved to the market it works and that this is the future for many operators.

10 Things Customers Love About Self-Serve

In the world of hospitality, there can be a perception that kiosks depersonalise customer service. But in reality, in many cases, self-service is reinventing customer experience for the better. Customers appreciate having more control over their experience, with the reassurance of intuitive and immersive self-service technology and the added benefit that staff are focusing on serving not processing.

Both rational and emotional motivators are drawing UK consumers to instore restaurant kiosks:

  1. The feeling that things are moving faster (even if they’re not)
  2. The sense of control
  3. The comfort of perceived order privacy
  4. The interactive nature of kiosk
  5. The eye-catching digital displays
  6. Desire for personalisation of loyalty offers
  7. minimal, if any queuing
  8. Fast and easy ordering
  9. The availability of nutritional and ethical information
  10. The freedom to customise their order

To read the full report “Self-serve Kiosks: Proven Strategic Approaches for Restaurants 2019” CLICK HERE.

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