Convenience is ubiquitous. We check in with airlines, buy household products, purchase movie tickets, vote and play slots without having to interact with another human. We are a self-serve nation and the age of restaurant self-serve kiosks is also dawning.
Guests from every demographic see self-ordering as a preferred alternative to standing in line. Interactive kiosks give guests control over their browsing and purchasing decisions. And since they control the ordering process, accuracy is usually better than using traditional registers. This helps increase service speed, and means more orders can be expedited during the same amount of time. Kiosks also seem to apply less pressure to guests. When in a queue, guests may feel pressured to make quick decisions, and decline suggested upsells from the cashier.
Most hospitality operators are learning, some more gradually than others, that self-serve kiosks result in higher check averages than cashier-processed sales. Adding kiosks will ramp up the number of guests served over a given time period. They not only connect guests to more products, they also contribute to the overall brand experience. Besides shorter lines, better control and improved accuracy, guests appreciate that they can save menu item modifications as favorites, and use these preferences on future orders.
Depending on frequency of visits, some guests may be reluctant to download yet another app to try out a new feature. Others might not have a smart phone at all, making kiosks a smart choice. But the choice remains with restaurant operators, but many are likely to embrace kiosks as an alternative that helps save labor costs, and reduces the risk of losing guest revenue. Here are three of the most popular scenarios we’re seeing:
- Food court kiosks: Guests can opt-out of a line and instead enter – and pay – for their orders at kiosks. Some will still wait in line for the value of human interaction. Others will benefit from skipping possibly multiple lines by ordering from different food court venues with a single kiosk transaction, especially nice for families or groups.
- Reservation kiosks: Is the wait for a table too long? Can’t get a reservation until after 10pm? The host or hostess may be too busy assist the guest in finding a venue that meets their party size, composition, preferences and time constraints. Operators reduce the risk of losing guests to an off-property location.
- Fast Pass Buffet kiosks: It’s great to have a popular buffet; however, F&B Managers are challenged by the long queues snaking through the property extensive wait times. This is where a strategically placed buffet kiosk can allow guests to skip the line and pay for their brunch with a receipt that provides a reservation time. Operators can experiment to determine the optimum percentage of inventory ‘reserved’ for those who use the kiosk and return at their specified time.