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Ultimate Guide to Using Self-Ordering Kiosks for Restaurants

Published Mar 22, 2023 Restaurant
Self-Ordering Kiosks for Restaurants
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“Quick summary” As technology changes, improvements are doubling in the food industry. One such radical innovation is the self-ordering Kiosk.

Self-ordering kiosks are becoming increasingly common in the restaurant business because they give customers a quicker, more effective, and more customized way to place their orders.

Convenience is not the only advantage, either. Self-ordering kiosks have also lowered wait times, enhanced order accuracy, and, most significantly, increased average order value in restaurants.

According to McDonald's, restaurants that added kiosks saw an increase in revenue of 5% to 6% on average. On the other hand, Chili's also saw a staggering 20% rise in dessert sales after installing self-ordering kiosks at its tables.

In this ultimate guide, we will thoroughly summarize self-ordering kiosks for restaurants. 

Let's dive deep into it! 

What is a self-ordering kiosk?

Restaurant self-ordering kiosks are self-contained ordering systems that enable customers to place and pay for their orders. Customers can easily and quickly customize their orders and pay online or with plastic money using self-ordering kiosks and touch screens with POS capabilities.

With the help of self-ordering kiosks, customers can easily browse through the menu, make their selections, and pay for their orders all on their own. It streamlines the ordering process and frees staff to focus on other tasks, such as food preparation and customer service. 

Customers can place their orders at these kiosks and have their food brought as soon as possible. Restaurants and their customers benefit from the convenience and efficiency of kiosk purchasing. They are a fantastic way to showcase a brand and are readily customizable and easy to use.

5 Key benefits of restaurant self-order kiosks

Key benefits of restaurant self-order kiosks

Reduced order errors

Placing an order in person is similar to playing the game "Telephone" because there is a greater possibility of error being introduced the more individuals involved in the exchange of information.

There is no chance for things to be misheard or miscommunicated when using self-order devices. Before making a purchase, customers can visually verify that their orders are accurate and precisely what they requested by entering and customizing them.

Self-kiosk for restaurants result in fewer mistakes and conflicts between staff and customers over receiving the incorrect order. This streamlined procedure guarantees better customer service and an overall improved brand image!

Faster order processing

Another clear advantage of self-ordering kiosks is faster order handling.

Customers who are hungry dislike standing in long lines. In reality, a Tillster study showed that a staggering 91% of customers would prefer to order from a restaurant kiosk if the line was longer than 10 people.

By allowing customers to construct their order, deliver it to the kitchen, and pay within a few clicks without making them wait in line or engage with the staff, a self-ordering kiosk can help shorten those wait periods and lower the errors.

All of these extra advantages improve customer satisfaction and company image overall. As a result, it is a win-win situation for both customers and companies.

Increased revenue

Self-ordering technology boosts profitability by raising average spending per individual while improving effectiveness by lowering expenses through automation. 

Self-service kiosks provide cross- and upsell possibilities that boost revenue. For instance, when a customer orders a coffee, the Kiosk asks if they want to add additional toppings or whether they would like to pair it with a snack, and the Kiosk displays the choices for the combo menu. 

According to Forbes, the average consumer will spend 12% to 20% more when buying from a self-service kiosk than when ordering from a cashier. This arrangement boosts restaurant revenue and profitability.

Enhanced customer experience

Good customer service is the cornerstone of the food industry, and self-serve kiosks enable that. They are the simplest method for restaurant owners to improve customer satisfaction and boost revenue.

By streamlining the restaurant line, an ordering kiosk boosts both the effectiveness and efficiency of client service. Customers place orders, pay workers, pick them up, and bingo! Food is prepared, finished, and given to the customer without hassles.

It is beneficial during busy times when customers are irritable and workers are overworked. The Kiosk can manage it with ease. Also, customers can simply and quickly add customizations to their orders through the Kiosk.

Labour cost reduction

You can provide staff with improved support and greatly lower labor costs with self-ordering kiosks for the restaurant. For any restaurant, labor cost is among the hefty costs business owners encounter. Your restaurant will require fewer employees to take orders and process payments if you have self-service kiosks.

It lessens your reliance on your employees and gives your team more time to concentrate on other important business tasks.

Servers spend less time receiving orders from customers and running to the kitchen. They become more productive while forming relationships with their visitors and coworkers by narrowing their focus to the customer experience and high-quality food.

Self-ordering kiosk cost

1. Factors affecting self-ordering kiosk cost 

A. Hardware cost (Kiosk, tablet, printers, etc.)

A typical self-service kiosk costs between $5000 and $15,000, and options vary from tabletop and tablet units to big format floor kiosks.

Basic chores like wayfinding or check-in are frequently performed at kiosks at the cheaper end of the price scale. You will also need a typical enclosure, tablet, and perhaps a printer in addition to the Kiosk. Any additional gear won't be required aside from that. Due to the extra assets needed, a custom kiosk with more features will cost more.

The price of more hardware choices rises, but they also add value. It comprises barcode readers, webcams, badge scanners, payment readers, and other related things!

B. Software cost (licensing fees, customization, maintenance, etc.)

Software controls how a program functions and is what makes kiosk technology effective.

When installing a self-ordering kiosk for a restaurant company, one of the major software expenses you'll face is licensing fees, which vary depending on the software provider you select.

You can transform a booth into anything you like. Due to the numerous personalization options, you can create something unique to set your restaurant apart. However, the price will differ depending on the customizations you choose.

Another significant expense in the self-ordering Kiosk is software upkeep, which will cost you about $10 monthly. However, it might change depending on your provider and the upkeep needs.

The total software costs will cost somewhere between $1500 to $3000. 

C. Installation cost (electricity, network, labor, etc.)

When calculating the cost of your self-order Kiosk, you may also need to account for installation and software-related costs. Small kiosks are simple and can be on any table or counter. Multiple tablets can also be scattered throughout the restaurant.

If you decide on a larger, more complicated kiosk, you might be required to pay for the setup and installation. Some businesses ask for $1,000 or more just for delivery and installation.

The most crucial factors to consider are electricity and the network because a self-ordering device cannot operate without them. 

The expense of the network and electricity will be in the $100 to $500 range.

D. Additional self-ordering kiosk costs (training, customer support, security, etc.)

While the benefits of kiosks in restaurants are huge, it's important to note that additional costs are associated with their implementation and maintenance.

Restaurants must consider these additional costs when deciding whether to implement self-ordering kiosks. While they can bring many benefits, the associated costs should be factored into decision-making. 

By properly planning and budgeting for these self-ordering kiosk costs, restaurants can ensure a successful and cost-effective implementation.

Some of these costs include:

  • Training: Employees must be trained to use the kiosks, including troubleshooting issues. It can require additional time and resources.
  • Customer support: Restaurants may need to provide additional customer support to help customers who are unfamiliar with using the kiosks.
  • Security: Kiosks may require additional security measures to protect customer data and prevent unauthorized access.

2. Breakdown of self-ordering kiosk cost

  • Hardware: The cost of the physical kiosk hardware can range from $500 to $10,000, depending on the complexity and features required.
  • Software: The cost of the software that powers the self-ordering Kiosk can range from $100 to $5000, depending on the level of customization and features required.
  • Installation: Basic installation may be included with the purchase of the Kiosk, while more complex installations may cost $500 to $2000 or more.
  • Maintenance and support: Ongoing maintenance and support may cost $50 to $500 per month or more, depending on the level of service required.
  • Additional equipment: Depending on the restaurant's needs, additional equipment such as printers, payment processing devices, and other peripherals may cost $500 to $2000 or more.

It's important to note that these costs are estimates and can vary widely depending on the restaurant's specific needs and the features and functionality required in the self-ordering Kiosk. Restaurants should carefully consider their budget and requirements when evaluating the cost of self-ordering kiosks.

3. Cost Savings from self-ordering kiosks

Here are some cost-saving tips for self-ordering Kiosks:

  • Self-ordering kiosks can reduce labor costs by replacing some human labor required for taking orders and processing payments. You can either reduce the number of employees or redeploy them to other business areas.
  • Self-ordering kiosks eliminate the possibility of miscommunication between customers and employees, leading to fewer order errors. It can help reduce food waste and save money on costly remakes.
  • Self-ordering kiosks can be programmed to recommend add-ons or promotions, increasing sales and revenue.
  • Self-ordering kiosks can provide real-time sales data, allowing you to track which items are selling well and which ones are not. This information can help you make data-driven menu changes and inventory management decisions, potentially leading to cost savings.
  • Self-ordering kiosks can accept different payment methods, including cash, credit cards, and mobile payments. You can reduce payment processing fees and save money by providing multiple payment options.

4. Return on investment (roi) of self-ordering kiosks

Self-service kiosks can benefit your business in many ways. A self-serve kiosk's effect on a company's profitability is determined by tracking sales and operating expenses over time.

  • Businesses incur significant costs due to employee recruitment and training. Self-ordering kiosks help to reduce those expenses and increase operational efficiencies. As a result, your revenue has grown without your operating expenses changing.
  • According to studies, kiosks can change consumer behavior to increase the value of orders. It means you are raising the average purchase price and serving more customers.
  • A greater understanding of consumer behaviors is possible by interpreting data from self-ordering kiosks. Understanding client tendencies and interests will enable you to serve them better, tailor purchases, and perform additional things to improve customer experience.

Reducing your investment while growing your income can also be a winning combo for your company.

Choosing the right self-ordering kiosk

1. Self-service touchscreen kiosk

Touchscreen technology provides an intuitive and user-friendly interface allowing customers to navigate the menu and place orders easily. Customize the interface to match the brand's look and feel, making it more engaging and interactive for customers.

With a self-service touchscreen kiosk interface, customers can quickly select menu items and customize their orders, leading to faster order processing and shorter wait times. It can help to improve overall customer satisfaction and increase table turnover.

Touchscreen technology even allows customers to input their orders directly into the Kiosk, reducing the chances of errors occurring when orders are taken manually. It leads to higher accuracy in order taking and fewer mistakes in fulfilling customer orders.

2. Payment options

It's a wonderful feature to have an interactive self-service kiosk that allows users to pay using various payment methods.

Restaurants can benefit greatly from payment-enabled kiosks because customers can choose their items and pay using their chosen payment method without interacting with any staff members.

More payment options for users mean fewer lines at the eatery, which means faster and quicker checkout. Businesses can give a more efficient and adaptable checkout experience for consumers by giving them a variety of payment options. It can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty considerably.

Although integrating various payment choices into a self-ordering kiosk may take some time, it is worthwhile.

3. Customizable menus

One of the key features of self-ordering kiosks is the ability to customize menus to meet customers' specific needs and preferences. Customizable menus in self-ordering kiosks provide businesses with the flexibility to offer a more personalized and engaging customer experience. 

Businesses can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty by tailoring menus to customers' needs and preferences while increasing sales and revenue.

Through this feature, restaurants can showcase their customers' customizable menus and pricing based on the location, time of day, or other factors. It allows businesses to offer promotions or discounts during off-peak hours or for specific menu items.

Restaurant owners can customize the kiosk menu to include multiple language options, catering to the needs of customers who speak different languages.

4. Integration with POS systems

Jumping from one POS system to another is a pain. But don't worry! Seamless integration of your POS system with your Kiosk can easily solve your problem. 

Install necessary hardware and software on both the self-ordering Kiosk and the POS system to enable integration between the two systems.

Through integration, restaurants can track customer behavior and other details to offer fully personalized solutions. 

Configure the integration to ensure that orders and payments are properly processed between the Kiosk and the POS system. It typically involves configuring menu items, prices, taxes, and payment methods.

5. Accessibility

Self-ordering kiosks for the restaurant are designed to be easily accessible to customers. The inclusion of accessibility features in self-ordering kiosks can help restaurants to create a more accessible and inclusive environment, which can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

By making it easier for all customers to navigate the menu and place their orders, restaurants can create a more positive and welcoming experience for everyone, which can help to improve business success in the long run.

To make the restaurant self-ordering Kiosk more accessible for all customers, restaurants can incorporate accessibility features such as audio output, text-to-speech technology, large text, and high-contrast displays to boost convenience. 

Through convenient and accessible kiosks, restaurants can improve customer satisfaction, reduce wait times, and increase efficiency in the ordering process.

Implementation process

1. Choosing a reliable self-ordering kiosk vendor

It is necessary to evaluate different vendors to get a best-in-class self-ordering kiosk. Whether you want to upgrade your entire POS system or start small with implementing a few kiosks, research to find the best vendor to meet your requirements.

Examine all sellers offering self-ordering kiosks and their features, pricing, and post-sales support to begin your selection criteria.

It is a tried-and-true method for getting the finest one for your restaurant while putting the customers' needs first.

2. Installing and setting up kiosks

Setting up a self-ordering kiosk involves several steps, including hardware and software installation, customization, and testing. Here is a more detailed guide:

A. Install the hardware and software

Follow the manufacturer's instructions to install the hardware and software components. Ensure the Kiosk is properly secured and all cables and wires are properly connected.

B. Customize the Kiosk

Customize the Kiosk's user interface to match your brand, including the colors, logos, and images. Create an intuitive and easy-to-use interface that guides customers through the ordering process.

C. Test the Kiosk

Test the Kiosk thoroughly to ensure that all features and functions are working correctly. Conduct user testing to identify any usability issues or glitches.

3. Training employees to use kiosks

Indeed, self-ordering kiosks don't require staff control, but little training goes a long way. Training employees to use kiosks is essential to ensure that they can assist customers, troubleshoot issues, and maximize the Kiosk's potential. 

Here are some steps to train your employees to use kiosks:

  • Provide an overview of the Kiosk, including features, and explain what it does and how it can help customers.
  • Demonstrate how to use the Kiosk step-by-step, including navigating the menus, selecting items, customizing orders, and processing payments.
  • Identify common issues customers may face when using the Kiosk and train your staff to troubleshoot and resolve them quickly.
  • Remind employees that customer service is still a critical aspect of the customer experience, even using kiosks. 
  • Reinforce the importance of hygiene practices when using and cleaning the Kiosk to maintain a safe and sanitary environment for customers.
  • Encourage employees to provide feedback on the Kiosk's performance and usability, and use this feedback to make improvements.

4. Promoting the new system to customers

Promoting self-ordering kiosks to customers requires effective communication, incentivization, and an excellent customer experience. By providing a positive and convenient experience, customers will be more likely to use the kiosks and potentially recommend them to others.

Here are some ways to promote self-ordering kiosks for customers:

  • Use eye-catching signage, such as banner designs, posters, or digital signage, to attract customers' attention.
  • Offer special promotions or discounts for customers using self-ordering kiosks, such as free add-ons or a percentage off their order.
  • Encourage employees to promote the benefits of the self-ordering kiosks for restaurants with proper explanation, such as shorter wait times and increased accuracy.
  • Offer loyalty points or other incentives for customers who use the kiosks to encourage repeat usage.
  • Use social media platforms to promote the self-ordering kiosks, including videos or pictures showcasing the benefits and ease of use.

Challenges and Solutions

1. Self-ordering kiosk Cost 

The initial investment is one of the most significant concerns when integrating new technology into your company. Investing in the original setup and sticking to the maintenance and upkeep of self-ordering kiosks can be problematic without a clear return on investment. 

Therefore, before choosing a self-ordering machine, you should consider several factors.

Self-service kiosks have a high initial expense, but your company will benefit more in the long run if you integrate them into your daily operations. Long-term teller employment will be more expensive than buying kiosks for everyday, straightforward financial operations.

Additionally, you will see higher sales in your restaurant after installing a self-ordering kiosk and improved client satisfaction and brand value.

2. Customer resistance

If consumers refrain from using self-ordering kiosks, no matter how advanced the tech or how fantastic the integrations are, they lose much of their worth. Customer resistance to change is a major issue that this business consistently faces.

Customers who have newly discovered the technology may be unwilling to place an order to pay through such a device.

To address this issue, restaurant owners can increase knowledge of this self-ordering Kiosk in their establishments or on social media by endorsing its advantages and making offers to order a product through such a kiosk to encourage adoption.

3. Staff training

Staff training can be a challenge when dealing with self-ordering kiosks. Some employees may be hesitant or uncomfortable with new technology, leading to resistance to change. To overcome this, provide sufficient training and support, and emphasize the new system's benefits to employees.

As the self-ordering kiosk system evolves, updates and changes may be necessary. Training employees on these updates and changes will require you to train them again & again will need more effort and be time-consuming. 

Once your self-ordering kiosk starts working in your restaurant, your employees will cope, reducing misunderstandings and enhancing the customer experience at the restaurant.

Providing continuous training on assisting customers might be lengthy, but ensuring a seamless customer experience is worth the effort.

4. Maintenance and upkeep

If you are a customer, walk into a restaurant only to find that the self-service Kiosk is inoperable. 

What would you think?

This situation frustrates many modern customers when entering a restaurant and finding a broken, vandalized, and unusable kiosk.

Therefore, the restaurant must guarantee that the Kiosk operates properly for your customers. Self-ordering kiosks require comprehensive repair and upkeep.

As part of your due diligence when selecting a kiosk vendor, you should check their track record for maintenance work, the typical time to respond to service requests, and their reputation for providing hardware and software with above-average uptime and reliability ratings.

5. Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a significant challenge in self-ordering kiosks. These kiosks often store sensitive data, such as credit card information, personal identification numbers (PINs), and customer names and addresses. This information can be highly valuable to cybercriminals, who may use it for fraud or sell it on the dark web, which is not what customers and businesses want.

Customers trust businesses, and you should make it possible.

Here are something businesses can do to improve the cybersecurity of their self-ordering kiosks:

  • Kiosks should use payment systems compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
  • All data stored on the Kiosk, including payment card data, should be encrypted to protect it from unauthorized access.
  • The Kiosk's login credentials and passwords should be complex and unique to prevent security breaches.
  • Regular software updates can help patch security vulnerabilities and protect against new threats.
  • Only authorized personnel should have access to the Kiosk's backend systems, and all access should be logged and monitored.
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Self-ordering kiosks for restaurants have emerged as a game-changer in the industry, revolutionizing how customers place their orders and enhancing their overall dining experience.

From reducing wait times to increase order accuracy, the benefits of self-ordering kiosks in restaurants are diverse and can help restaurants streamline their operations and boost their bottom line.

By following the ultimate guide to using self-ordering kiosks for restaurants, businesses can use this technology to improve their operations, increase customer satisfaction, and drive revenue growth.

With the right planning, training, and implementation, self-ordering kiosks can be a valuable addition to any restaurant and are sure to become an increasingly common sight in the years to come.