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Can You Justify the Cost of Kiosks for Restaurants?

Big chains such as McDonald’s, Panera Bread, Taco Bell, and Shake Shack are embracing digital kiosks, but are they right for smaller chains, single location restaurants, and cafés? Owners of smaller establishments may be tempted by this new technology but are also worried about the initial self-ordering kiosk cost and how long it might take to recoup their investment.

While big brands are going all-in, smaller chains are moving more slowly to adopt self-service kiosk technology due to the expense connected to the machines. Despite the initial touch screen kiosk price, the return on investment is significant and worth examining. For quick serve restaurants and cafés, self-service kiosks can increase sales and improve efficiencies.

Improve Customer Services with Self Serve Kiosks

Instead of maintaining a full staff of cashiers, you can have employees perform more beneficial customer-facing roles that improve your customer service. With a self-ordering kiosk, employees can assist with kiosk orders and deliver food to tables, roles that increase customer satisfaction.

As an example, McDonald’s took full advantage of this when rolling out their kiosks. Employees were able to refill drinks and check with customers to ensure they were enjoying their meal. Keeping the human touch when introducing kiosks not only improves customer satisfaction but increases acceptance of the technology.

Generational Gap and Self-Serve Kiosks

Although younger generations are quick to embrace this new technology, older generations are not. But that doesn’t mean you should abandon the technology. Millennials and Gen Z will make up a huge chunk of all customer purchases by 2020, so it’s in your best interest to stay up to date and provide the restaurant experience they expect. And if you maintain staff to help with front-end duties, you’ll keep your older clientele happy as well.

There’s no doubt that guest-facing, self-serve kiosks are changing the perception of “hospitality” in restaurants. By mixing the traditional restaurant experience with the new technology, you’ll be able to stay competitive in the space.

Self-Serve Kiosks Increase Sales

Research shows that self-serve kiosks can increase check sizes and overall sales. When given the power to place their own orders, customers tend to be more susceptible to the upsell messages programmed into the kiosk.

Increased check amounts are not the only way a digital kiosk can increase your restaurant’s revenue. Diners who would generally avoid a restaurant with long lines will be more inclined to visit your establishment when they see shorter lines and wait times with a kiosk. This means more orders can be sent to the kitchen, and more diners can be served overall.

Bottom Line for Your Bottom Line

When it comes down to it, a self-service kiosk can pay for itself over time. Whether it’s shortening the time it takes to place and deliver orders, increase sales, or improved customer service, kiosks give your restaurant the cutting-edge factor that makes it competitive in this constantly evolving and increasingly competitive marketplace.

Customers have made their preferences clear, and kiosks are definitely winning the day. At this point, the more important consideration is: Can you justify the cost of NOT implementing a self-serve kiosk in your restaurant?

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