The evolution and increased availability of technology has led to high consumer expectations of convenience and personalization in their dining experiences. Self-service kiosks, which have risen steadily in popularity in recent years, are a prime example of how to meet those standards. Self-service isn’t just for fast-food places or QSRs; full-service restaurants can benefit from it as well. Here’s how.
- Optimize Labor
Full-service restaurants can use self-service kiosks to streamline the processing of to-go meals. Orders are transmitted directly from the customer to the kitchen, eliminating the need for a front-of-house middleman. Those staff members can be reallocated to focus on dine-in customers or to help the kitchen prepare the to-go orders faster, providing a better experience for all customers.
Full-service restaurants can also place self-service iPads at each table so that guests can start ordering drinks and appetizers without having to wait for the availability of their server. This streamlining not only gives servers more time to provide personalized attention but also speeds up table turnover, thereby increasing revenue.
- Increase Order Accuracy
Restaurant self-service kiosks greatly improve order accuracy, so your staff won’t be wasting time and food on rejected orders. The kitchen gets the order information straight from the customer, virtually eliminating potential server miscommunication or misread tickets. With the visual prompts, customers can see images of exactly what they’re ordering and have the opportunity to review and check their orders before submitting. They can customize the entire meal to their specifications, increasing overall satisfaction with their experience.
- Enhance Customer Experience
While restaurant self-service kiosks are especially popular with millennials, who appreciate and are accustomed to the convenience afforded by technology, older generations can find reasons to appreciate the experience as well. Streamlined ordering expedites the food preparation process, so diners get their food faster. And they can have greater confidence that they’re getting exactly what they wanted, since they customized their own choices based on clear visual imagery. Finally, the social aspect of dining out is actually improved, because when servers don’t have to be running orders back and forth from the kitchen, they have more time to interact with their guests (which can lead to better tips for them as well).
- Increase Ticket Sizes
One of the biggest benefits of self-service kiosks for full-service restaurants is the increase in revenue. As more restaurants and franchises adopt self-service, results consistently show that when customers place their own orders, ticket sizes increase. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, when Taco Bell introduced its digital app in 2015, orders placed through it averaged 20% higher than orders placed with human cashiers. In 2014, The Atlantic reported that when Chili’s introduced tabletop tablets, dessert orders rose 20% (perhaps, as the article suggests, because diners don’t feel they are potentially being judged by the server for what they’re ordering). And in 2018, Australian chain Hog’s Express claimed their average spend per person rose a whopping 30-37% with self-service kiosks.
What drives these increases? For one thing, the graphical interface of a self-service kiosk provides appealing images of the food to whet diners’ appetites. Customers can also access lists of specials or other items they might miss on a regular menu or the specials board they pass by on their way in. Finally, guests placing their own orders tend to select additional ingredients or extra add-ons when prompted by the upselling features built into the self-service software. Restaurants no longer have to rely on their employees remembering to upsell consistently, because it’s automatic — and it works. Those extra toppings, sides, drinks, and combos add up.
- Anticipate the Future of Dining
The new normal for consumers can be summed up in two words: convenience and automation. Consumers can hail a ride in self-driving cars through Lyft or Uber, they can go to cashierless stores, such as Amazon Go, and even have drones deliver packages right to their doorstep. Sooner or later, they will begin to expect the same convenience and automation in their dining experiences. We are not far off from having serverless restaurants where diners view the menu, place their own orders and pay their bill all via a device on the table. Quite a few restaurants across the United States are already testing this new experience or implementing a hybrid method that employs waitstaff who are ready on the sidelines and available upon request.
Don’t fall behind. Stay a step ahead of your competition by offering menus on iPad devices at your tables, rather than old-fashioned printed paper menus, in order to provide more information to your diners about the ingredients in each meal and the history of each dish. The menu should be an integral part of the dining experience. After your customers begin to get accustomed to reviewing your menu via iPad, begin to add “order” buttons next to each dish to streamline the ordering process by sending your customers’ orders immediately to the kitchen.
For all of these reasons, restaurant self-service kiosks provide a healthy return on investment. Discover how SalesVu can help you quickly and easily implement a self-service solution.
Download the OrderUp App for iPad now, or contact SalesVu to learn more.