Digital Kiosks Serve Up Change in the Restaurant Business

Quick-serve restaurants (QSRs) deploy self-serve digital kiosks with IoT to put more control in the consumer's hands and benefit from increased profits, improved customer satisfaction, and happier employees.

Image credit: Zivelo

Some quick service restaurants are not, in fact, quick service. We’ve all stood in line behind people who don’t know what they want to order or who customize their orders so specifically, you just know something will be forgotten between the order and the kitchen. Wouldn’t it be great if they could order on their own?

Now they can, and so can everyone else. QSRs are rolling out self-serve digital kiosks that provide a personalized, easy-to-use, fast customer experience. Customers can walk up to the digital kiosk and place their orders using touch screen technology. Options can be customized and quickly reviewed, so consumers know exactly what’s getting sent to the kitchen. Customers save time and get what they want right away, without having to wait in line. It’s quick, simple, and leads to increased profits.

Personalized Customer Experiences

QSRs with self-serve kiosks have experienced an average of a 20-30 percent increase in order sizes, according to Zivelo. One reason is that a machine won’t forget to upsell items (“Do you want fries with that?”), and research shows that consumers are twice as likely to order dessert from a kiosk—no judgement from a machine.

In addition to upselling, self-serve kiosks can boost the QSR’s bottom line in other ways, too. IoT technologies can collect data from the restaurant and apply advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to this data to make the customer experience more immersive, personalized, and frictionless. For example, restaurants can offer personalized recommendations, loyalty discounts, or free parking to customers. Restaurants also can track customer wait times or employee efficiency and make adjustments based on the data.

Interaction = Satisfaction

Self-serve kiosks aren’t new. Who among us hasn’t withdrawn cash from a bank’s automated teller machine? In fact, many customers prefer self-service over help from an associate. Researchers from the Rotman School of Management, Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, and the National University of Singapore concluded that self-service technology can lead to increased sales by removing the fear of being judged or misunderstood in front of sales clerks. This is particularly true of younger people. One recent survey reveals that 46 percent of millennials prefer self-checkout, compared with 39 percent opting for a human cashier.

It has become increasingly common to see a digital kiosk in your local fast-food restaurant. With customers handling their own orders, QSRs see fewer errors in the ordering process. Restaurant employees are free to focus on fulfillment and higher-value customer services functions. QSRs with digital kiosks are not only seeing higher customer satisfaction ratings, employees are reporting higher job satisfaction ratings.

Personalized Ordering

One Intel® IOT Solutions Alliance partner, Zivelo, has built the Zivelo self-service kiosk aimed at helping QSRs:

Image credit: Zivelo

Market-Ready Solutions

Systems integrators looking to develop their own QSR solutions can use Intel technologies to deliver scalable, interactive solutions. For example, the Intel Distribution of OpenVINO Toolkit™ delivers scalable computer vision with artificial intelligence capabilities that can support voice, touch, and gesture controls. It allows integrators to deploy vision algorithms across a range of hardware without changing the code, so they can get to market faster.

These increased capabilities require ongoing management. Kiosks using the Intel vPro® Technology can be managed, updated, and recovered remotely—inside or outside the firewall—to ensure reliability even when the kiosk is down. The Open Active Management Technology Cloud Toolkit allows for in-band and out-of-band remote management capabilities from the cloud for even more flexibility.

With the personalized interactions that digital kiosks can provide, customers are likely to spend more and have a positive experience. High satisfaction means customers will keep coming back for more, and that’s like having your cake and eating it, too.