Restaurants Could Find a Win-Win Situation with Self-Ordering Technology

Restaurants are adopting new self-ordering technologies in an effort to enhance the customer experience while improving their own operational efficiency and the bottom line.  It’s a rare instance where both the business and the customer win – so restaurant owners should explore the possibilities for their business. 
Many restaurant-goers enjoy a technology enabled dining experience – so much so that tech influences where they choose to dine.  According to recent industry research, almost half of consumers say technology makes dining more fun, and more than one-third say that the availability of technology would prompt them to choose one restaurant over another and to dine out or order takeout/delivery more often.  In addition, 92% of consumers believe tech options in restaurants will become more prevalent in the future.  
Consumers expect more personalization and convenience when dining, and their perception is paramount in growing loyalty and delivering an optimal restaurant experience.  More than three-quarters of consumers believe technology increases convenience, and 70% say that technology speeds up service and increases order accuracy.
Clearly, demand is increasing for consumer-facing restaurant technology. But what is driving this evolution? According to Elo, there are multiple factors leading to increased demand for restaurant self-ordering technology.
For the customer:
  • Greater customer convenience: Self-service touchscreen kiosks, for example, help customers skip the line with web-enabled ordering that often remembers their custom food order from a recent visit.  Restaurants are also using loyalty programs and digital couponing to attract patrons into their establishment powered by attention-grabbing large format digital touchscreens.
  • Customer experience extras: Restaurants are increasingly offering games and other entertainment on large digital signage, self-service kiosks, and tablets provided at the table. Patrons can use these technologies to play games and/or customize their orders. For increased speed and security, many customers would also rather use a self-service kiosk or tablet to order and pay than to wait for a server.
For the business:
  • More efficient restaurant operations: Waitstaff are using touchscreen computers to take and process orders faster, track the status of ordered food and quickly process payments. Self-service kiosks and table-based tablets free up staff to work on other tasks, such as customer engagement and food preparation. Data gathered from technology can also be used for analytics to find areas where operations can be improved and costs streamlined.
  • Larger order volume and higher per-check averages: Self-service technology can also lead to improved upselling. For example, Taco Bell found that their self-checkout mobile app resulted in orders that were 20 percent higher than orders taken by cashiers. Similarly, Chili’s self-service tablets increased the number of dessert orders and Cinemark theaters found that their self-service kiosks generated 32 consecutive quarters of per-person concession order growth.

With so many possibilities for restaurants, be it quick-service or sit-down, to both improve the customer experience and save on the bottom line, self-service technology offers a win-win solution. Restaurants not taking advantage of the latest technology are losing ground to tech-savvy competitors. It’s time to catch up or be left behind.

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