Self-serve experiences have become commonplace in our lives. They help us place orders, access cash, print tickets, and even buy cupcakes during times when humans may be unavailable. Because we interact with them so frequently these days, it’s easy to forget it wasn’t long ago that introducing a kiosk in a restaurant setting was breaking new ground.
Mobiquity has been a pioneer in this space, working with some of the largest brands to drive customer engagement through kiosk solutions while also offering best practice advice. And while “5 Tips for Implementing a Restaurant Kiosk” is among our most read blogs, with new advancements in user experience and technology happening every day, the time was right to revisit and refresh our tips. Luckily, I didn’t have to go far to find two experts in this space.
To talk about the latest in kiosk best practices, I sat down to talk to two of our local kiosk experts, Andrew Capozzi, Principal Experience Architect and Anna Budny, User Experience Architect. We took a look at the blog from 2016 and walked tip by tip through our original recommendations.
Here’s what I learned:
Tip #1: Customize kiosk technology to your needs
2016 Tip summary
While there are out-of-the-box software solutions that can be readily installed and utilized, these solutions tend to be inflexible and difficult to customize to the needs of your business and customers.
2019 Tip Update: It’s still best to customize kiosk technology to your customer’s specific needs
Andrew and Anna say this still holds up and is potentially even more true today. In 2019 and beyond, guests expect personalization. When they order from your kiosk, they want the same options, same rewards and same customized service they receive from a live cashier or associate. Out-of-the-box solutions simply aren’t equipped to accommodate these types of data-driven, personalized modifications. What’s more, with the unrelenting pace of digital transformation, you don’t want to be waiting on a vendor’s product roadmap and vision. Andrew and Anna believe organizational success can be more positively impacted by creating, refining, and iterating upon your own product vision -- all while keeping the customer needs and wants as the controlling priority.
Tip #2 : Run a pilot program
2016 Tip summary
Developing the software that powers a kiosk is an investment and the hardware required to run these new programs can also add up when multiplied by all locations. Before rolling out to all stores, it makes sense to test kiosk experiences at select locations, capture information on user experience and give yourself the opportunity to implement the findings in your final, full launch.
2019 Tip Update: Have you made sure a kiosk makes sense in every store?
Doing a pilot program is never a bad idea. But Andrew and Anna share that it’s even more important today to make sure that kiosks are part of a larger business strategy. When kiosks were new to restaurants, many customers rushed to put them in their stores without first thinking through whether or not a kiosk was solving a key business challenge.
Kiosks are a great solution in the right circumstance, but putting a kiosk in every store might not make sense. Before launching a kiosk project, it’s important to consider your specific business goals, challenges, and broader initiatives. If you struggle with surges of traffic, staffing inconsistency, order accuracy, or enforcement of seasonal promotions, kiosks may make sense. It’s crucial to select a partner who can review the specific benefits and considerations of a kiosk for your unique business needs.
Tip #3: Plan for Operational Changes
2016 Tip summary
Kiosks can result in unintended changes in your store operations. This commonly includes a need for fewer cashiers but more personnel back of house as the more efficient order process causes an increase in orders and overall customer throughput.
2019 Tip Update: There’s more to consider today than ever before
Over the years, our user experience experts have uncovered many of the operational changes that may surprise an operator who is new to kiosk technology. A UX Architect with experience in kiosk launches can walk you through the entire customer experience in your store, helping you identify all of the key operational workflows and touchpoints that may be impacted.
Some examples that Andrew and Anna highlighted from past launches include the following:
Tip #4: Integrate kiosks with your multichannel digital strategy
2016 Tip summary
The idea here is to make sure kiosks aren’t an isolated tactic in your larger digital strategy. Kiosks can serve as a great way to enroll new members in rewards and loyalty programs and an opportunity to test promotions, giveaways and other digital marketing.
2019 Tip Update: Think outside the digital box – expand your view to be even broader
This still makes a lot of sense and kudos to the 2016 team for being ahead of the curve on this recommendation. The amendment that Andrew and Anna added here was to think of not just your digital strategy but overall business strategy and larger company objectives. This is important for the success of your kiosk program and is also a best practice in maximizing overall business impact.
To ensure success, guests must have an optimized experience whether they order in-person, online, or at a kiosk and this needs to be orchestrated at the enterprise level. It’s important to keep a high level of consistency while respecting unique factors, such as context of use. Some examples include: offering menu items in the same way, making sure changes roll out to each touch point, and maximizing speed and efficiency across each channel’s ordering experience. Close attention should be paid to brand elements throughout, such as design elements, tone, and voice.
In addition, to fully realize the benefits of a new ordering channel, think through larger company goals and how a kiosk could help further them. For example, do you want to build your catering business? How could this be promoted through a kiosk – as a did you know pop up, information printed on a receipt, or through text highlighting the ability to build even more rewards points through catering orders? This is just one example, but there are endless ways that a kiosk can help with business goals. A good partner can help you think through new ways to use a kiosk as an integrated driver of business success.
Tip #5: Budget for Growth and Improvement
2016 Tip summary
A well thought out kiosk program should be an investment that adds value to your business for years to come. As with any investment, there are maintenance costs to make sure your program is functioning well and capitalizing on the most current technology.
2019 Tip Update: Add pre-planning to your strategy to ensure you save room for budget growth and improvement
It’s no surprise that this is still true today. It’s always important to make sure you’re prepared to keep your kiosks functioning at an optimal level, and planning ahead is the best way to make sure you aren’t surprised by maintenance costs that crop up down the road. A good kiosk partner can help you think through what is reasonable to expect.
At the end of our talk, I was pleased to see that our 2016 recommendations were on track. All of them proved to be things that are still important to focus on today, and through my conversation with Andrew and Anna I learned that there are some new aspects of kiosk programs that now need to be considered, as well.
I also got a hint of how much our team is focused on the future of the restaurant industry and how kiosks and self-serve technologies are a stepping stone moving us toward a more connected, efficient, and customer-centric dining experience. If you want to learn more about our big ideas in restaurant technology, we’d love to chat.
Andrew and Anna definitely have more ideas and recommendations than I was able to fit into this article -- and they love to solve the most complex issues you can bring them. We welcome the opportunity to learn more about your specific business goals and how technology could help you achieve them in new ways.
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