Brits Get the Taste for Self-serve Kiosks for Food Ordering. Are Operators Prepared?

Within the next twelve months, self-serve kiosks for food ordering will be mainstream in the UK quick service restaurants (QSR), fast food and the casual dining market, according to the first UK research into consumer views and hospitality sector plans.

UK Operators to Invest in Tech

The study projects that by October 2020, 58% of hospitality operators will adopt self-serve technology with self-serve kiosks for food ordering being the most frequent type used. And it is about time.

Despite major players like Subway, McDonalds and Burger King starting to experiment with kiosks in 2006, the UK has been slow to adopt the tech in fear the British consumer would not use this less personal way of ordering. And even since McDonalds began their UK kiosk roll-out in 2011 and the customer love of British QSR Chain, Tossed’s 100% self-serve cashless offering, we have yet to see mass adoption in the restaurant space, despite kiosks’ rapid deployments in airports, supermarkets, healthcare, travel and hotels. 

In technology terms, it seems like a lifetime and a lot of talk and very little action. But things are changing, and self-serve kiosks for food ordering finally seem to be having their moment in the quick-service space according the latest research report “Self-serve Kiosks in UK Hospitality. State of the Market 2020”.

UK Research into Self-serve Kiosks for Food Ordering & Hospitality

Commissioned by Kurve, the research makes for interesting reading for those considering self-serve kiosks and technology. The report clearly indicates the UK is set for rapid deployment of kiosks across the fast food, QSR and casual dining markets, thanks to the operational and revenue gains and customer demand for a digital and omni-channel experience.

The study included a consumer poll of 2,000 UK residents, with 41% stating that given a choice, they would use a self-serve kiosk over a cashier. Privacy and control of kiosk self-ordering are two principal consumer attractions, along with convenience, order customisation, accuracy and queue avoidance.

To date, there has been very little in the way of research in the UK on self-serve tech, with the majority being focused on the American market.  For some the research findings may come as a surprise but for Kurve, they reflect very much the conversations we’ve  had with both small and large hospitality operators over the last year, which strongly indicate the UK is on the brink of self-serve kiosks for food ordering going mainstream.

Brits Want More Self-serve Kiosks for Food Ordering

The research showed Brits are happier to use kiosks than most operators realise. 13% of operators think less than 10% of their customers are willing to use self-serve compared to 2% of all UK consumers.  Whilst 56% of operators believe 50% or more of their customers are willing to use self-serve compared to 66% of all UK consumers.

In terms of what our industry is doing, an operator survey revealed 65% of British operators cite staff productivity as the number one benefit for kiosk deployment, enabling re-purposing of staff to increase operational efficiency and the customer experience without increasing salary headcount. In the UK it is not about staff cuts but improving customer service through table service, food preparation speed and generally help staff being available. Self-serve kiosks for food ordering are all about improving the customer experience.

Other benefits cited included reducing customer waiting times (62%), revenue generation (58%) and increasing product sales (54%).

In contrast, the integration with existing IT infrastructure was cited as the greatest challenge (62%) and to a slightly lesser extent current EPoS limitations (52%), cost of installation (48%) and cost of re-designing existing store layout (42%).

Why not download the full report for free?

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