New Tech Trend: Automated Kiosks

By: Corien de Jong

In today's world, technology influences all aspects of life – including restaurants and retail stores. Self-service kiosks are changing the way people eat, order and shop – providing a convenient way for consumers to get what they want, when they want it.

Technology has come a long way in terms of improving the human way of living. From bridging social connections through the internet and social media to facilitating the way we navigate (i.e. mobile phone maps and driving directions), these technological advances come with a host of benefits for their users.

One area where technology’s influence can be seen is the way we purchase things. Ecommerce is living testament that businesses are exerting greater efforts, through technology, to cater to more consumers.

However, while buying through mobile apps or websites that make ordering and delivery happen at the touch of the fingertips is on the rise, a lot of shopping experiences still likely include going to a physical location, albeit less frequently than before.

Fortunately, a revolution is taking place within brick-and-mortar stores. New convenience stores (like Amazon Go), retail and supermarket giants, as well as quick-service, fast casual and casual dining restaurants, are taking the leap toward embracing the role of self-service combined with automation technology in their businesses. Some stores make use of touchscreen kiosks for order-taking, while others make use of physical barcode scanners or similar mobile phone apps for in-store barcode scanning combined with a self-checkout counter for payment at the exit.

Poised to be another game-changer in the restaurant and retail space, here are some ways automated kiosks provide a win-win situation for everyone – businesses and consumers alike:

  • They enhance customer shopping experience. A self-service kiosk machine allows your customer to consider all the menu items you have available and take their time choosing their meals without any pressure to decide. It gives consumers the opportunity to view all the ingredients in a given entrée or beverage option and from there, table-side automated ordering allows them to put in an order without waiting for a server to come to the table.
  • They speed things up. One of the reasons why some stores are leaning towards self-service is because convenience comes at the top of their and their consumers lists. If you have bought anything from a supermarket or large retail store, then you have most likely spent a portion of your time hauling a shopping cart and waiting in long customer queues, as the cashier tends to every shopper. With an effective and properly-implemented self-checkout counter in place, transactions are faster and more efficient, thus, eliminating the long lines that you dread most in every shopping trip.
  • They save space and money. The space needed to place about six kiosk machines only takes up one traditional cashier checkout/ordering lane. This can make a world of difference for a store or restaurant with limited indoor space. A store can have more lanes for self-checkout while taking up less space. Furthermore, businesses can save on overhead and labor costs as automation of businesses are seen to be more cost-effective while finding better ways to incorporate a human touch

Another benefit is that human employees can be reassigned to other roles that can assist you better, like being deployed to the kitchen staff ensuring faster food preparation or table service, and in the case of retailers, restocking aisles to make sure enough products when your customers reach for the shelves.

Automated kiosks are big part of the future for the retail and service industries. Depending on the type of business you’re running, there can be different and innovative ways to incorporate them into your overall strategy. Convenience is king to today’s consumer and self-service combined with human interaction is the way to give the customer what they want.

About Butts in Seats!

When it comes to restaurant trends and marketing, IMM knows what they are talking about. Gina Lee De Freiitas, President of IMM, and Corien de Jong, SVP Executive Creative Director, have more than 25 years of experience in the vertical. So when they talk about the tools, tips and resources your restaurant needs to succeed, rest assured they’ve got it covered.

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