Self-ordering kiosks really do increase profitability

I am passionate about kiosks but it’s even more exciting when I hear how they are impacting our customers’ financial performance.

I was catching up with a customer last week – they run health food quick service restaurants – and he was so excited about their improved performance that he shared some of his metrics. My customer installed self-ordering kiosks with a payment facility, in six of their quick service restaurants (3 kiosks per store). Consequently, profitability immediately improved by 7% – 10% across the restaurants.

In the lowest volume restaurant (300 orders per day), 45% of the orders are going through the kiosks and in the highest volume restaurant (400 orders per day), 70% of orders are going through the kiosks.

These are amazing results, but what can we learn?

For the high volume restaurant, the kiosks provide an alternative ordering option, so customer drop off is minimised and more orders can be processed, particularly during peak times.
This makes total sense, but what’s interesting is that kiosk usage is also high for the lower volume restaurant. This tells me that a large number of customers have a preference for self-service, using a kiosk, compared with ordering ‘face to face’. Just walk into a supermarket and you’ll see the self-service checkout aisles full while the assisted checkouts are empty or have small queues. Haven’t times changed?!

The increase in average order size and improved profitability were also driven by the addition of drink recommendations for each order. Most of the drinks are available directly from the fridge, in other words, they don’t need to be made, so the margin is high. It’s a quick win.

Finally, customers have the option to identify themselves through their email address – it could just as easily be their phone number – so when they return, they can simply re-order based on their previous visit. Ordering becomes even faster and more convenient for repeat customers.

More generally, what the kiosks allowed my customer to do was move staff from order taking roles, to ‘production’ roles, ie, making up the orders. This increased overall efficiency and focused the more expensive ‘human’ resources where they can add the most value.

The impact of the kiosks on his business is best summed up by his quote “everybody loves the kiosks – customers, managers and the accountant!”

My recommendation is that if your business is quick service restaurants, you have ‘spikey demand’, you have a range of menu choices and combinations or your customers have other options within the same area, you should seriously consider installing self-service kiosks so you can capture more orders, increased average orders size and free up your staff for other activities.