Kiosks and fast food. A marriage made in heaven. A decade ago, when you went into a fast food restaurant, you expected to queue at the counter, give your order to a member of staff, pay and then wait for your food to be called.

Today, things are very different. Across the QSR and casual dining sectors, self-order kiosks are a familiar sight, if not the norm. A long list of big name chains now use kiosks exclusively to take orders.

By the end of 2020, it was estimated that more than half of all fast food restaurants in the UK had self-serve kiosks installed.

So what’s the secret behind this revolution? Why exactly has the QSR sector taken to kiosks so enthusiastically? Here are four reasons.

Quicker service

Self-order kiosks have been responsible for a step change in QSR service efficiency. Wait times have been radically reduced, people are placing their orders faster and getting their meals sooner.

Why? Well for one, you can have more order screens than you would otherwise have service staff, and for less cost. Plus diners input their own order directly, rather than telling a member of staff what they want who then have to input it. You’re talking a couple of seconds difference, but multiplied by hundreds and thousands of customers, it adds up.

Also, staff are all focused on getting meals ready and handed out, not on orders and payment. That focus speeds things up, too.

Increased average spend

The hype around self-order kiosks really started to take off when early adopters like McDonalds and Subway reported an uptick in average order value of up to 30% in the US. That’s a huge figure – how can a simple kiosk be responsible for such a big leap?

The reason is that, with a kiosk, you let software take care of all your cross-selling and up-selling. Knowing which items to recommend with each meal, and to which customers, is a sophisticated sales skill. One that’s easily forgotten about in a hot, busy restaurant.

There are no such issues with software. Thanks to modern data and AI technologies, a kiosk always knows (on the basis of probabilities, at least) the right thing to recommend. It never gets hot and flustered. It always remembers to highlight your promotions and up-sell your highest margin extras.

Better order accuracy

As well as encouraging customers to spend more than they would when ordering from a person, kiosks are also much better at getting orders right. There’s no risk of something being lost in translation when it is written down or overheard in a noisy environment. Whatever the customer selects on the kiosk screen, that goes straight to the kitchen. And customers get to confirm their own order before they pay.

Helps with COVID-19 protocols

Finally, over the past couple of years there has been a huge surge in interest for any kind of solutions that replace person-to-person contact with technology, for obvious reasons. The restaurant trade has been one of the hardest hit by COVID-19, and businesses have had to think outside the box on ways to implement social distancing measures just to get trading again.

Kiosks provide a ready-made solution for restaurateurs. At the height of the pandemic, segregated self-order points and contactless collection meant contact between customers and staff could be reduced almost to nil. Now we are through the worst, but people still carry a degree of caution about being in crowded spaces. The way that kiosks reduce queues will continue to help make people feel safe about dining out again.

Get in touch today to discuss self-order kiosk options for your business with our friendly team of experts.