The Rapid Rise of Self-Service Ordering and Payment

Ordering a meal has its frustrations. Servers can make mistakes, and sometimes, customers can feel pressured to make decisions quickly. Paying the bill can be just as exasperating. There’s the wait, potential embarrassment over splitting a bill, and the unpleasant business of handing a credit card over on a tray. The solution? For many casual and fast casual restaurants, it’s self-service, a growing trend that 54 percent of surveyed adults say they’d like to use.

“I see rapid [self-service] kiosk adoption across multiple verticals,” says Revel Systems co-founder and CTO, Chris Ciabarra. “They’re already a standard in Asia and Europe, and this will be a natural progression to consumer behavior in the U.S.”

New research corroborates Ciabarra’s statement. Software Advice, an online research advisory for iPad POS technology, surveyed 1,926 U.S. adults to find out what they want most from self-service point-of-sale systems. Here are the top features today’s customers seek:

Order Customization. Forty-seven percent of respondents said order customization is their favorite self-ordering feature. Do they stack their burgers with bacon, extra pickles, no cheese, grilled onions, and whole-wheat bread? Whatever the preference, sometimes it’s best to eliminate the middle man and take matters into your own hands. Visuals are also critical, with 26 percent of respondents citing pictures of food as second in importance when it comes to automated ordering.

Tip: The Revel Kiosk makes order customization a cinch. Customers may easily add or subtract ingredients from their order, choosing from a list of clearly illustrated menu items. There’s even the option to send special instructions to the kitchen.

Splitting the Check. Whether they’re dining with one friend or a large group, customers would rather avoid the awkward “who’s paying?” moment. The option to split checks should be a given. In fact, the Software Advice survey shows this as the number one must-have self-payment feature, with 39 percent of adults citing it most. The ability to use multiple payment types comes in at a close second, at 31 percent.

Tip: The words “Check, please!” may soon go out of style. The Revel Kiosk empowers customers to check out on their own without hassle, using their choice of credit card, cash, a gift card, or PayPal.

Tableside Self-Service. Where do customers wish to use their self-service powers? The overwhelming majority (88 percent) said at the table versus at a kiosk upon arrival or departure. Without the pressure of a line forming behind and with the comfort of a warm seat beneath them, it’s a comfortable way to end a satisfying meal.

Tip: Designed for the iPad, the Revel Kiosk fits easily at the customer’s table. In addition to using the device for order and payment, customers can even play games while they wait for their food to arrive.