There is a noticeable trend of employee unhappiness in the Quick-Service Restaurant industry (QSR). Dissatisfied employees result in high turnover rates. Such high turnover rates and recently rising employee costs seem to have become almost indisputable characteristics of the QSR industry. Rising turnover rates and costs have been leaving employers searching for newer and better solutions.
Self-service kiosks might be the answer to the rising mountain of problems the QSR industry is grappling with.
Self-service kiosks – interactive, generally easy-to-navigate computer terminals that allow customers to digitally input their order – have recently been on the rise in major QSR chains like McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and more.
Self-service kiosks as part of the QSR business model seem to be an intuitively good choice for business. Because kiosks are better able to display the menu, self-service kiosks are also better equipped to up-sell customers as a natural way of generating more revenue. However, self-service kiosks also benefit QSR working environments in general as a complement to the employees.
Self-service kiosks function as additions to existing teams that help the entire operation run more smoothly, more efficiently, and with an environment that is more conducive to happier customers and employees.
The use of self-service kiosks actually allows for a redistribution of labor that allows employees to focus more energy on improving customer experience.
Orders will be taken more quickly and food preparation speed will need to adapt to keep pace with the efficiency of the kiosks. There will need to be employees who are capable of stepping in when customers are experiencing trouble with the technology. Employees will be able to spend time performing other customer-service oriented tasks like running drink refills or simply checking in with customers to ensure that their experience has been satisfactory.
Some saw the rise of self-service kiosks as a response to nationwide conversations regarding the increase of minimum wage and therefore view self-service kiosks as antagonistic and a means of displacing human labor. However, a study by Digital Screenmedia Association found that 21% of QSR restaurants had been planning to install self-service kiosks in 2011, and that many had plans to follow suit long before the push for a $15-minimum wage gained significant momentum in the United States.
Maintaining the presence of a human labor force that is working alongside the self-service kiosk additions is essential: it has been reported that when McDonald’s installed self-service kiosks, because they maintained the presence of their employees, positive interactions with said employees boosted customer satisfaction when using the kiosks. The key is to have employees and self-service kiosks working together.
Moreover, self-service kiosks allow employees to focus on more complex tasks. A BusinessWire article finds that employees find mundane work to be frustrating, which then negatively impacts employee productivity and increases employee turnover rates. Increasing a focus on customer-service and organic human interactions that stem beyond simply inputting and order and handling the exchange of money can create the non-mundane and interactive work environment that many employees are craving.
Furthermore, it is important to highlight that happy employees make happy customers, and vice versa. With self-service kiosks as an addition to the QSR operation, employee obligations can now be more centered on truly improving the customer experience. Similarly, employees may experience more emotional and mental fulfillment from getting to do more meaningful tasks.
Self-service kiosks cut out one of the largest sources of both customer and employee dissatisfaction. Almost all of the most common complaints of QSR restaurant workers across the board have to do with negative customer interactions that occur when customers order their food. Similarly, many customers feel frustrated with unsatisfactory employee service in the ordering process. Self-service kiosks can remedy the frustrations of both parties by providing a more efficient, more foolproof option.
The bottom-line is that employee satisfaction benefits everyone: it creates a more meaningful employee experience, an improved customer experience, and an overall better QSR experience.