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Prime Time for Kiosks in Quick-Service Restaurant Brands?

Coral Drake | October 26, 2023 |

self-service kiosk Featured
Prime Time for Kiosks in Quick-Service Restaurant Brands?

Kiosks are popping up everywhere in the quick-service restaurant industry, from international chains to food trucks. It begs the question, is this prime time for kiosks in quick-service restaurants? 

In this blog post, we’ll dig deeper into the role of digital ordering in restaurants to help you decide whether kiosk integration is right for your restaurant.  

How are Quick-Service Restaurants Using Kiosks?

  • Burger King has been experimenting with kiosk ordering for years in international markets like South Korea. However, their initial push in the U.S. market wasn’t successful. After a brief hiatus, they’re revisiting the kiosk prototype. CEO Josh Kobza noted a more favorable reaction from guests in the U.S. in recent times compared to five to seven years ago.
  • Taco Bell has fully embraced the kiosk trend, with systems now present in all 7,000 of its U.S. outlets. Its sister brand, Habit Burger, is aggressively integrating kiosks into its operations. Yum Brands CEO David Gibbs highlighted that average kiosk sales see a 10% higher check than counter sales.
  • Panera Bread was one of the early adopters of the kiosk model, introducing it as part of their "Panera 2.0" strategy almost a decade ago. McDonald’s followed suit a few years later with its "Experience of the Future" interior remodels. Both brands played a pivotal role in popularizing kiosks in the quick-service sector.

Why it’s Prime Time for Kiosks in Quick-Service Restaurants

Boosting the Average Check

The capacity of kiosks to upsell more effectively than traditional ordering is clear. Balance Pan-Asian Grille saw orders go from about $10 with traditional ordering to around $13 after implementing kiosk ordering at their restaurants. This kind of increase in the average check as a result of kiosk upselling isn’t unusual. But how do they do it?

Kiosks provide tailored upselling suggestions. Based on what's already in the cart or previous orders, the system can intelligently recommend complementary items or upgrades.If a customer orders a burger, the kiosk might suggest a combo meal or a premium side.

Digital ordering kiosks come with high-resolution screens that vividly showcase products, making them hard to resist. 

Whether it's a mouth-watering image of a dessert or a limited-time offer highlighted prominently, these visual cues entice customers. They’re the nudge a customer needs to add just one more item to their order.

Timing matters too. A prompt showcasing a popular dessert just as the customer is about to finalize their main order can capitalize on impulse and increase the ticket just before it closes. 

Unlike traditional counters where there's an inherent pressure to order quickly due to a waiting line, kiosks in quick service offer a relaxed, self-paced ordering experience. Customers can take their time to browse the menu, explore options, and make selections without feeling hurried. 

This unhurried environment leads to more thoughtful choices, more browsing time, and consequently, a larger order.

Human interactions vary in upselling effectiveness based on factors like staff training or busyness, but kiosks provide consistent upselling prompts every single time. 

A Strategic Response to Staff Shortages in the Quick-Service Industry

Staff shortages are a pressing concern in the restaurant industry. Kiosk ordering systems enable businesses to maintain service standards and customer satisfaction, even amidst staffing challenges.

Kiosks significantly offset the need for front-end staff. Customers can seamlessly browse menus, place orders, make payments, and even get answers to common questions, all through the kiosk interface. 

This transformative shift allows businesses to reallocate their staffing, prioritizing areas like the kitchen or delivery.

The efficiency and autonomy offered by kiosk systems have unlocked new horizons for entrepreneurs in the quick-service restaurant industry. A single person can now reasonably run a food truck or small restaurant themselves, leveraging self-service ordering options to keep lines flowing despite lean staffing.

Powerhouses of Data Collection in Digital Ordering

Beyond their primary role in streamlining the ordering process, kiosks serve as invaluable data collection tools.

Kiosks can meticulously record every kiosk order placed, which means they can monitor customer behavior. For instance, if a patron opens a menu item but opts not to add it to their cart, this data is logged. If an item is consistently viewed but rarely chosen, it might hint that the product image or description needs a revamp. 

Which dishes peak in popularity during specific times? How frequently do patrons tweak a standard order? Are there patterns in kiosk ordering habits influenced by weather or community events? 

Dissecting this kiosk data empowers businesses to fine-tune their offerings, deals, and manpower. 

Contemporary kiosks integrate flawlessly with inventory tracking systems. As orders roll in, the kiosk can transmit this data instantaneously to the kitchen and inventory oversight system.

This synchronization ensures the kitchen remains in the loop, alerting them to the need for restocks of in-demand items, and curtailing the odds of having to take something off the menu.

Kiosks: Elevating Customer Service in Quick-Service Restaurants

Kiosks in quick service restaurants are a helpful tool when it comes to serving customers well. 

The self-service nature of kiosks offers customers a relaxed ordering environment. They can take their time, explore all options, and make confident choices.

Without the need for verbal exchanges and manual entries, kiosks swiftly process orders. Since multiple kiosks can work at once, customers don’t have to line up waiting for a turn to order. 

Mistakes in kiosk ordering are far less frequent compared to traditional methods. With clear menu displays and intuitive interfaces, customers can ensure their orders, especially those with customizations, are accurate. 

Harnessing the power of kiosk data enables restaurants to offer highly tailored suggestions to customers. For instance, if a customer frequently orders a vegetarian dish, the kiosk might recommend a new plant-based side dish or beverage. 

Such kiosk upselling techniques, backed by data-driven insights, elevate the customer experience, making them feel valued and understood. It also means they’re more likely to be happy with their food. 

Kiosk data collected allows for a level of personalization previously reserved for high-end dining. By analyzing order histories and preferences, kiosks can make tailored offers, reminiscent of the personalized attention regulars receive from staff in luxury restaurants. 

Navigating the Potential Pitfalls of Kiosks in Digital Ordering

While kiosks have become a staple in the quick-service restaurant industry, they, like any advanced technology, present their own set of challenges. Recognizing these potential downsides and proactively addressing them can ensure that businesses harness the full potential of kiosk integration.

  • Placement and Visibility: A kiosk that's not strategically positioned can go unnoticed. It's essential that kiosks are placed in high-traffic zones and that attention is drawn to them.
  • User-Friendliness and Kiosk Integration: Whether a kiosk will work for your restaurant depends on how easy it is to use. It should cater to all demographics, ensuring that both the tech-savvy and not so tech-savvy have no trouble ordering.
  • Staff Training and Kiosk Support: Even though kiosks are designed for self-service, there will be times when customers seek assistance from a real person. Ensure that staff are adept at resolving common kiosk-related issues and can assist customers in the ordering process if they don’t want to use the kiosk.
  • Reliable Vendor Support for Kiosk Systems: The backbone of a successful kiosk system is the vendor behind it. Collaborating with a company that offers unwavering support, stands by its products, and is proactive in addressing challenges is essential.
  • Kiosk Data Collection and Utilization: Kiosks are a goldmine for data. However, this kiosk data is helpful only when collected, analyzed, and acted upon systematically.
  • Built-in System Checks for Kiosk Integration: To prevent issues, kiosks should be equipped with intrinsic system checks. Furthermore, implement regular diagnostics to get ahead of potential issues.

Elevating Quick-Service Restaurants with Superior Kiosk Solutions

Designed with the consumer experience at its core, Revel’s Kiosk XT streamlines the ordering process.

Revel's kiosk offers a visually appealing user interface with options for branded messaging and promotions. Custom background images, videos, product visuals, branded fonts, and colors ensure that customers are engaged and excited about the offerings.

Kiosk XT supports features like upsell combos, split modifiers, gift card payments, loyalty rewards, and more. 

Consider adding a kiosk to your tech offerings for a system that can increase your restaurant’s bottom line, reduce strain on staff, and serve customers better.