Role of Self-service Kiosks in Maximizing Efficiency for QSRs

Quick-service restaurants (QSRs) have long been known for their speedy service, but the advent of self-service kiosks has taken this efficiency to a whole new level. These sleek, touchscreen machines are reshaping how customers order and experience fast food.

It’s not just a passing trend; it’s a full-fledged transformation in the way we experience dining out. Moreover, it’s a shift towards a more customer-centric, efficient, and personalized dining experience.

Let’s look at some stats. A survey found that more than one-third of the consumers want restaurants to install more self-service kiosks. The top reasons for their preference are no rush in ordering, ease of exploring the entire menu, and better understanding of the available options.

This popularity primarily stems from the convenience and efficiency of self-service kiosks. Wondering how?

Let’s delve into the whys and hows behind the rise of self-service kiosks in quick-service restaurants.

Evolution of Self-Service Kiosks in Fast Food Industry

The concept of self-service kiosks in fast food traces its roots back to the early 2000s when pioneering brands began experimenting with automated ordering systems. These rudimentary kiosks were often clunky and limited in functionality, but they laid the groundwork for future innovation.

The Age of Personalization (2010 – 2019)

Fast forward to 2019, and kiosks have become tech powerhouses. High-resolution displays showcased mouthwatering food visuals, and intuitive interfaces allowed for in-depth customization. Nutritional information, allergen listings, and loyalty program integration started becoming standard features.

Age of COVID and Demand Increase of Self-service Kiosks (2020 – Present)

The arrival of COVID-19 in 2020 wasn’t just a public health crisis but a catalyst for a significant shift in the fast-food industry. Already on the rise, self-service kiosks experienced a surge in popularity as restaurants grappled with a new reality.

Kiosks offered a convenient and contactless solution when minimizing human interaction was crucial. By allowing customers to order, customize, and pay electronically, they significantly reduced the number of touchpoints between staff and patrons, reassuring everyone about the safety measures.

Why are Self-Service Kiosks in Quick Service Restaurants on the Rise?

The Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) provides valuable insights into why Self Service Kiosks (SSKs) are gaining popularity in the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry. Let’s break down how the UTAUT factors align with the benefits of self-service kiosks:

  • Performance Expectancy: SSKs offer improved performance in speed, accuracy, and convenience compared to traditional ordering methods. Customers expect SSKs to enhance their ordering experience, leading to greater satisfaction.

  • Effort Expectancy: SSKs simplify the ordering process, requiring minimal customer effort. Their intuitive interface makes ordering easy and efficient for customers.

  • Social Influence: The growing adoption of SSKs in the QSR industry has a social influence on customers. Seeing others use and benefit from SSKs can influence individuals to try them out themselves, contributing to their increasing popularity.

  • Facilitating Conditions: The availability and accessibility of SSKs play a crucial role in their adoption. QSRs that provide efficiently accessible SSKs in convenient locations make customers more likely to use them, further driving their adoption.

  • Price Value: While not directly part of the UTAUT model, the cost-effectiveness of SSKs can also be a motivating factor for their adoption. QSRs can potentially save labor costs and improve efficiency, which can be passed on to customers in the form of competitive pricing.

  • Habit: Over time, using SSKs can become a habit for customers who find them convenient and efficient. Once a habit is formed, customers are more likely to continue using SSKs, further driving their adoption in the long run.

By aligning with these UTAUT factors, SSKs are effectively meeting the needs and expectations of customers in the QSR industry, leading to their increased adoption and reshaping the way customers interact with QSRs.

Impact of Self-Service Kiosks in QSRs

  • Reduced Wait Times for Customers

A bustling restaurant with hungry patrons is eyeing your menu. Self-service kiosks take center stage, transforming the order process into a swift, efficient dance. Customers tap away their selections, reducing the time spent in line. Less waiting means more satisfied customers, but for you, the restaurant owner? It directly leads to increased turnover and a more vibrant bottom line.

  • Efficiency That Speaks Your Language

In the kitchen, every order matters, and misunderstandings are the last thing you need. Self-service kiosks cut through the noise, eliminating the need for customers to wait for a staff member.

No more miscommunications or order mishaps. With kiosks, customers can create their meals while you focus on delivering exceptional culinary experiences.

  • Reduced Manual Work Dependency

Have you ever wished your manual work focused more on delivering exceptional service than juggling orders? Self-service kiosks take the load off, allowing your team to shine where it matters most – in customer interactions and food preparation.

With fewer staff required for order-taking, you can reallocate resources strategically, enhancing overall efficiency and providing your customers with a more personalized dining experience.

  • Data-driven Insights

Behind the scenes, self-service kiosks contribute to a treasure trove of data. From popular menu items to peak hours, these digital maestros offer insights that empower you to make informed decisions.

Adjust your menu, optimize staffing during peak times, and tailor promotions based on real-time data – it’s the dance of adaptability driven by customer preferences.

  • Guiding Customers with Ease

In the fast-paced world of QSRs, time is of the essence. With their intuitive design, self-service kiosks guide customers through the menu seamlessly. No more hunting for options or scrolling through endless choices. It’s a visual feast where each option is presented with clarity, ensuring customers can easily navigate and make choices without the frustration of a complex interface.

  • Upselling Opportunities

Self-service kiosks are highly effective at prompting customers to add additional items to their orders. Using suggestive selling techniques and visually appealing menu displays, kiosks can significantly increase the average order value, boosting revenue for QSRs.

When ordering a burger, the kiosk offers a bundled price for fries and a drink, encouraging customers to add these items. Additionally, by highlighting daily specials or limited-time offers on the kiosk screen, QSRs can further enable customers to explore additional menu items and increase their overall purchase.

Furthermore, self-service kiosks can provide personalized recommendations based on the customer’s previous orders or popular items, making the upselling process more targeted and relevant to individual preferences.

  • Customer Loyalty

At the heart of customer loyalty lies the precision of every order. Recent data insights underscore that QSRs leveraging self-service kiosks witness a 15%-20% increase in customer satisfaction due to improved order accuracy. Imagine a dining experience where every expectation is met and exceeded, fostering a bond of loyalty that goes beyond the plate.

  • Customization to Boost Your Revenue to New Heights

The art of personalization isn’t just about meeting preferences; it’s about creating an experience that resonates.

With self-service kiosks facilitating effortless customization, our journey reveals a remarkable 15-30% surge in average order value. The power of choice transforms routine transactions into memorable culinary adventures, translating directly into revenue growth.

Beyond loyalty and revenue, self-service kiosks bestow a myriad of advantages. With 24/7 availability, they cater to the modern consumer’s demand for flexibility.

The data-driven insights from kiosk interactions empower businesses to refine their offerings and operational strategies, creating a dynamic feedback loop that propels continuous improvement.

Case Study: How Shake Shack Utilized Self-service Kiosks to Boost Profitability

Shake Shack stands out in the QSR landscape for its focus on premium burgers, fresh ingredients, and a vibrant community atmosphere. However, with the steep rise in their demand, they quickly realized the importance of self-service kiosks in processing orders faster without compromising on quality.

So, Shake Shack started experimenting with self-service kiosks back in 2017. They debuted their first kiosk-only store in New York, which was an absolute hit.

This paved the way for their success with self-service kiosks. Between 2022 and 2023, Shake Shack installed these kiosks in nearly 250 stores.

As of 2023, Q3, over 50% of in-Shack sales came from kiosks, an increase of almost 35% from the previous quarters.

According to reports, Shake Shack is planning to continue leveraging self-service kiosks and increase their adoption across all its stores.

Key Best Practices for Boosting Your Revenue Using Self-service Kiosks

Based on Shake Shack’s success with self-service kiosks, here are some best practices for implementing and utilizing self-service kiosks in QSRs:

  • Use enticing graphics to showcase menu items and specials.

  • Recommend complementary or higher-margin items.

  • Utilize customer data for tailored recommendations.

  • Integrate with kitchen and POS systems.

  • Highlight specials and offers to attract attention.

  • Gather feedback and promote loyalty programs.

  • Regularly update and maintain kiosks for reliability.

The Bottom Line

As we stand on the precipice of QSR advancements, the call to embrace innovation echoes louder than ever. QSRs’ sustained success hinges on their ability to adapt, evolve, and integrate cutting-edge technologies. Self-order kiosks are not just a trend; they are a testament to the industry’s resilience and forward-thinking spirit.

If you are ready to take the road to success, EZ-Chow can be your trusted partner. Our self-ordering kiosks have a proven track record of delivering excellent results to restaurants, QSRs and their customers with the latest technology. So go ahead and book a demo today and experience the reliability and trustworthiness of EZ-Chow for yourself!

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Author

Bernie Fussenegger
Bernie Fussenegger,
Marketing,Branding & e-Commerce -Consultant
Click to learn more about Bernie Fussenegger

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