Hospitality Kiosks & Covid-19: Risk or Opportunity?

At the start of 2020, Kurve launched the first UK research into consumer and industry opinions of self serve tech, such as mobile order and pay and kiosks. It predicted by the end of the year 58% of food and beverage operators would offer some form of self serve technology. But where are we now?

Covid 19 & the Future of Self order and Pay Kiosks in Hospitality

What no one expected was the advent of a global pandemic which would rattle, economically cripple our sector and change our customers forever. As a market already pushed by squeezed profit margins and racing to catch up with our retail colleagues in terms of self serve kiosks and technology, the strain has reached levels most of us could never have imagined.

Reduced capacity, social distancing rules, need for no contact ordering – and for some of us, a Government “Eat out to Help Out” scheme that requires the ultimate in slick, fast order to table processing and kitchen management if the highly concentrated influx of diners are going to be served to our desired expectations. It’s a surreal environment we now live in with long term impact on society, cultural behaviour and as hospitality operators, how we engage and transact with our guests.

66% of Brits Happy to use Self Serve Kiosks in Hospitality Outlets

Self serve technology and kiosks were already a hot topic for both small and large operators by the end of 2019.  Helped along by 66% consumers already willing to use self serve kiosks, Covid-19 has catapulted technology forward at a speed few of us could have imagined,  within our homes, businesses and personal lives. Digital ordering and communication are very much the new norm and it’s here to stay.

Beyond perceived cost, many hospitality owners and decision makers are now in the process of assessing the pros and cons. For example, the ability of mobile order and pay and kiosks to reduce contact ordering, reduce customer queues, enable less staff and higher productivity and service levels; against the potential perceived risks in relation to infection transmission.

And the two big questions of course for the smaller independent operator remain, is self serve technology and kiosks worth the investment and what solution is best for my operational and customer needs?

Self Order Kiosks: How Ordering is Set to Change

StoreKit’s latest report, “Ordering Kiosks: How Ordering is Set to Change”, provides an up to date overview of kiosks in relation to the Covid-19 world we now live in, the potential new social norm and importantly an objective assessment to help you find the answers to: are self serve kiosks right for you? And the critical steps and considerations you need to be aware of.

The Kiosk Market in 2020

By 2024, the global kiosk market is expected to reach $30.8 billion, according to Tillster. In 2019, Tillster reported that 25% of restaurant customers have used a self-ordering kiosk at a restaurant within the past three months — up 7% year-over-year.

With 66% 0f the British public saying they would visit a restaurant more often if self-service kiosks were offered in the august 2019, it is hardly surprising that the benefits of kiosks to reduce steep staff costs by task automation, customer self order and pay, ease of up-selling and ability to cut queues and optimise wait times – and now the necessity to reduce contact ordering, Covid-19 has hurled self serve technology to the forefront of the decision making table.

One of the biggest Kiosk benefits has not changed – their proven ability to increase spending. According to the Harvard Business Review, the average spend in Mcdonald’s is 30% higher with kiosks. 20% of customers who didn’t initially order a drink would buy one when it was offered on their screen.

Rise of the Single Self Serve Hospitality Platform

self serve platform for hospitalityWith brand new, single platforms now available to place everything in one platform to allow for easy cross-channel self ordering, EPoS integration, affordable and intuitive self serve user interfaces and all the tools you need to almost guarantee you to drive revenue through up-selling,  data driven advanced loyalty and promotions and invaluable data analytics,  the decision to go self serve kiosk or not is no longer the confines of the big brand budgets and IT teams. Every operator can now easily, quickly and affordably harness the self serve opportunity and become part of the “New Social Norm”.


The New Social Norm?

Six months (and counting), the UK population has been in different states of “Lock down.” At both a national and international level, technology has advanced and proliferated all demographic spectrums from the baby boomers having to climatise and familiarise with video conferencing tools, online shopping and social media engagement, to our younger generations who’s tech driven world has become more concrete and dominated social engagement outside of the confines of the home.

mobile pay and order covid 19
Raise of UK mobile pay and order

Dining out was a past luxury. Take Aways became the indulgent treat, with third party apps and independent outlets expanding their grasp on the food and beverage market with wider delivery zones and broadening outside the “Take Away Norm” into everything from breakfast and desert delivery, to cocktails and roast dinners. On the flip side of the coin, small operators from pubs to bistros, have embarked on take away and delivery services to survive – many of whom plan to continue delivery services and click and collect.


No matter the age, by the end of 2020, I expect there will be few people who have not used self serve tech in some form, be it on a mobile, online, @table or kiosk. Whist it is not right for every outlet or guest, it is safe to say, self serve tech and kiosks are now firmly settled in the “New Social Norm”.

The rat race is now on between all types of beverages and food outlets to grab market revenue and adapt to the new social norm.  And self serve technology and kiosks will be part of the critical lifeline for those that get it right.

StoreKit’s 2020 Guide

For anyone in the process of looking into kiosks for their operation, StoreKit’s Guide is a great starter with a spread of opinions across the kiosk and self serve technology vendor market.

In a nutshell, the guide covers:

Integrating your kiosk with existing technology or EPOS system, featuring best practices.

Securing your kiosk – enclosures and mounting

Designing an effective interface – from software, hardware to printers

The risks of kiosks – Are there downsides? Kurve’s industry study and hospitality academic Dr Warren Goodsir of the Auckland University of Technology

The Guide is available for free at

If you have any questions, drop me an email

For more useful guides and industry reports, click here.


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