Things we’ve learned about implementing self-service kiosks in the QSR industry. Your questions answered.
You run multiple quick-service food and drink venues across the country. You are struggling to hire enough staff and some of your regular customers have mentioned the long queues to your team. You might even have had to process a few more refunds than usual because of mistakes and disgruntled customers.
You’ve been thinking about ways you could improve things, and one at the top of the list is self-service kiosks. But, you’ve never tried these before, and such a shift from your usual ePOS system feels a bit daunting. Is it just another thing to try and figure out?
We’ve met many people in your shoes and have helped brands globally to overcome the challenges you’re facing by embedding self-service ordering into their operations. We’ve learnt a lot along the way.
In this article, we have compiled some of what we have learnt over time from creating systems which enhance the customer experience. We’ve compiled it here – all in one place so you don’t have to go searching.
Let’s get stuck in!
How do I encourage customers to use the new technology to order?
The number one thing to remember with embedding a new system into your venues is to allow for time. Allow yourself and your customers to test out the system. You’ll figure out what works best for you, your store, your team and most importantly, your customers.
We often suggest a phased approach when implementing self-service kiosks in a venue which hasn’t had them before. What we mean here is to implement one or two kiosks in a few venues before rolling them out to your whole brand. This gives you time to learn from your customers and a chance to see how they use the kiosks.
We can help you use these learnings to roll out kiosks in your other venues seamlessly because we already know exactly what customers want from them.
How many kiosks should I have in my venue?
When thinking about how many kiosks you should have in your venue, it’s important to reflect on the space available. The number you choose will likely vary by venue and is typically governed by store layout and customer numbers during peak times. Remember, kiosks are designed to empower customers to place their orders, meaning you won’t need to combat the typical queue beside your counter.
With this in mind, our biggest piece of advice on this topic is to think about what you want the customer journey to be like as they navigate their way through your venue. Once they walk in, what route are they likely to take when ordering and collecting their food and drink? Do you want them to see any particular promotions on their way to order? Do you need to consider a different space for collection only versus eating in?
Once you are clear on this, you can test the number of kiosks you have in mind. Wondering how you’ll know when to add more kiosks? If you’ve still got a queue out the door, add more!! There will be many signs from your customers when it’s time to add more kiosks and you can learn alongside your customers with their feedback.
Some of the kiosks I’ve seen in the past are huge! How do we make sure what we implement is the right fit?
Historically, self-service industries have focused on hardware. There was a perception that larger hardware meant better software. We all know, bigger doesn’t always mean better! Typically speaking, a hardware-first approach leads to large, clunky hardware which takes up large floor space in a venue.
At the other end of the scale, some kiosk providers use iPad-sized screens. This can work well but from our user experience research it’s just not the right form factor for a store-based solution. iPads are perfect for a lean-back, on-the-sofa browsing experience. In-store, you need a screen that feels appropriately sized.
We tend to find the 22” screen is the Goldilocks size for self-service kiosks – not too big, not too small.
How can we ensure the ordering solution is on brand?
For a self-service ordering solution to work, it needs to be a reflection of your brand. Customers need to feel like they are ordering from a branded experience
Our recommendation would be to start with the basics. A ‘skin’ that is on brand – your colours, logos and product images and screensaver. Get started with that and learn from your customers.
Once up and running, talk to your kiosk provider about a richer level of customisation.
A couple of examples of how at Arch we have adapted client ordering interfaces recently include using a custom and distinctly on-brand typeface throughout the interface and adapting the menu layout to ensure it looks just like the physical menus for the brand.
When it comes to digital ordering, creating an on-brand customer experience is about more than just the aesthetic. You are a quick service venue – your customers expect things to be quick. In the digital world that translates as responsiveness of the kiosk. There should be no lag between screens and customers should never be waiting for pages to load. Any tiny delays in the ordering experience cause customer frustration which leads to reduced average order values.
Arch kiosks are designed specifically with this in mind. Built as native apps there are no web pages to load – everything is local on the device itself. Plus it means we take advantage of the hardware acceleration baked into a modern tablet display. In non-technical terms, it’s fast. Lightening fast.
Be aware of any kiosk provider that demands a high-speed data connection – that likely means it’s a web-based solution and whilst a fast connection will help, it will cost you more and still not work as well for the end user as a native app.
Are there IT-related things we should be thinking about before installing kiosks?
There are definitely some IT considerations to make before installing kiosks:
Your kiosk must have access to power wherever you’re considering mounting them. Is there a nearby plug, or can they be wired in behind the scenes to keep things looking tidy?
Connectivity & cabling
The arch solution is specifically designed so it isn’t dependent on high-speed dedicated broadband lines. As long as you have decent wifi in store it should work just fine.
You are of course welcome to connect the kiosks via a cable. Just remember that no one wants to see multiple cables hanging down from your kiosk. We’ve also got to consider health and safety depending on where your kiosk will go. Think about how you can hide the cable, where the cable will run within your store and how to keep it safe for your customers and we’ll take care of the rest.
How should I signpost customers to the kiosks?
As humans, it can take us a little while to get used to changes. It’s because of this that signposting people to kiosks in your venue is key to getting them to adopt and use them confidently.
Having kiosks in your venue allows you to free up the capacity of people in your team. Instead of taking the orders of customers, they are able to focus on creating the best atmosphere and experience for each visitor.
For the first few weeks of having kiosks installed (at least), we would suggest having a member of your team around them to suggest people order via kiosk and point people in the right direction for collecting their order.
These people can be there to answer any questions customers may have and generally welcome people in.
We hope that this has helped answer a few of the questions that might have been on your mind. If you have more questions or if you’d like a demo of Arch Kiosk get in touch. We’ll show how easy implementing self-service kiosks into your store can be.