In previous posts, we’ve explored the underlying motivations of brands adopting quick-service kiosks. Today, we will highlight specific brands that are using kiosks in especially innovative ways to build brand loyalty, improve customer satisfaction, and increase overall efficiency. Take a look:
You’d be hard-pressed to find a QSR brand more forward-thinking than Panera. Its commitment to innovative customer service is perhaps most apparent in its aggressive rollout of kiosk technology across the United States. Half of the chain’s locations were updated last year, with complete adoption expected by the end of 2016. Like other self-serve kiosks, Panera’s give members more control over their orders. What’s noteworthy here is that MyPanera rewards members can save their order history to easily repeat their favorites. Once an order has been placed, customers can track its status on a digital display, though they probably won’t be waiting for very long. Simplified ordering has enabled Panera to shift staff from the front-of-the-house to the back, a change that has driven down food preparation times from as long as 9 minutes to 5. The result: Easier menu browsing, shorter wait times, improved order accuracy, and 17 million active members of Panera’s loyalty program.
Taco Bell might have served its first taco more than 50 years ago, but it’s marketing strategy is all about innovation. Every 5 weeks, the brand launches new, limited-time menu items intended to drive urgency to its stores. This means that the brand must also raise awareness of these selections to its customers, and it’s experimenting with kiosks to do so. The brand has kiosks in its test restaurants, which, in addition to offering self-serve ordering, highlights the availability of new menu items that the customer might have overlooked. According to Melissa Friebe, Head of Taco Bell’s insights lab, “It used to just be about how cool the food is. Now it’s almost like how you get the food needs to be as cool as the food itself."
If you’ve stepped foot in a McDonald’s during the past year, you may have encountered one of its 2,000 “Create Your Taste” kiosks. After a successful pilot program in Australia, the kiosks were rolled out in the States to provide a level of customization that’s quite rare in the QSR space. These allow customers to pick from dozens of ingredients and hundreds of burger combinations, giving them more options than they would get from counter service. Meanwhile, the brand’s streamlined processes have not suffered. By easily displaying menu options and eliminating order entry issues, McDonald’s has been able to maintain the speed and cost-effectiveness its customers expect while also meeting their increasing demands for personalization. This is a pretty impressive accomplishment for a restaurant that revolutionized quick service by offering a very simple menu.
Johnny Rockets is perhaps best known for its 1950s-style sit-down restaurants – not exactly an atmosphere that screams “millennial.” But that’s beginning to change. To compete with the Five Guys and Shake Shacks of the world, Johnny Rockets has undergone a brand transformation to appeal to younger crowds. Much of this strategy hinges on its new QSR concept, Johnny’s Burger Factory, a modern, technology-driven extension of the Johnny Rockets brand. At these locations, the brand is combining kiosks for ordering and new cooking technology to speed up order entry and food preparation, with the kiosks making it immediately clear to visitors that the restaurant chain has taken a big step away from its sit-down concept.
Jack-in-the-Box has always had one of the larger selections of items on its menu compared to others on this list. For millennials that crave options, this can be a good perk; however, as many restaurants have learned the hard way,, it can also make it difficult to point customers towards higher margin options. Jack in the Box is now beginning to use quick-service kiosks specially designed to support upselling by alerting customers to items (both new and old) that they might have missed. These kiosks include pictures of the options and slides with descriptions, so they also help to decrease order confusion.
Where do you think self-serve innovation is heading? Let us know in the comments below.
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