Pros And Cons Of Restaurant Self-Service Kiosks

According to research, the North American kiosk market will grow to USD$4,999.74 millions in 2019, and USD$8,568.29million by 2027. ReportBy The Insight Partners

So if you own a casual or quick service restaurant you should, at the very least,  consider the idea of investing in self-service kiosk technology. This post will discuss the pros and cons, as well how you can choose the best option for your restaurant. 

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Self-service kiosks are evolving in restaurants

Customers have grown accustomed to helping themselves in various dining establishments over the years, whether it’s placing their orders at counters on a restaurant POSOr, you can choose from the buffet menu and then pay for it.

What’s evolved over the last few years, however, is the ability to do this on self-checkout screens.

Customers place orders today and can pay for them through their screens. Many major fast food establishments from McDonald’s to Panera Bread are adopting the self-service kiosk experience as the norm.

In fact, just one year into implementing ordering kiosks for a digitally-enhanced experience, McDonald’s reported a 5-6% lift in sales according to Business Insider.

Some restaurants have added smaller scale digital tablet technology to show menus and order drinks.


Restaurant kiosks: The pros

Staff can spend more time focusing on the customer experience. 

They offer convenience and speed in ordering, which is why self-checkout kiosks are so popular with fast food outlets. 

It is a common myth that kiosks in restaurants take people’s jobs. The idea isn’t to hire less staff but rather to direct their energy towards other roles that can improve the customer experience.

There will be fewer cashiers, which means that there is more staff to quickly assemble orders and decrease wait times. This also allows staff to spend more time with customers, allowing them to provide feedback and satisfaction.

There is less human error with customized orders

The accuracy and customisation of orders can be made easier by fast food kiosks. Fast food kiosks can make it difficult to request changes or modifications to traditional items. By significantly decreasing the chance of human error, the kiosk alleviates that problem.

Regular upselling leads to increased customer spend 

A positive aspect of self-checkout kiosks are the increased customer spending. One Study found that guests spent 30% more when they placed their own orders in McDonald’s and 20% more when they self-ordered in Taco Bell.

The kiosks never fail to display the old prompt as one of the reasons for the rise in customer spending. Do you want fries?


Restaurant kiosks: Cons

Technology costs 

When incorporating new ideas, one of the greatest concerns is Technology in your businessThe initial investment cost is typically high. For independent restaurant owners, this is an enormous undertaking. 

Based on QSR Magazine, the average cost of a kiosk setup—including the display, scanner, credit card reader and receipt printer—is approximately USD$5,000.

The cost of customization and number of kiosks required in the restaurant can impact the price. This could easily rise to five figures. 

Fewer customer service touchpoints 

A second problem is the lack of interaction between waitstaff members and customers, which can impact the overall customer experience.

It is more common for restaurants that serve sit-down food, as customers often ask for advice or to clarify their order.

Technology resistance  

While COVID has greatly softened the general public’s aversion to technology, it has not completely removed it. It is possible that your customers might not choose to place orders through self-service kiosks and instead opt to eat elsewhere.


Are you looking for a kiosk-style restaurant?

If you’re on the fence about Install a self-service kiosk at your venueBefore you make your final decision about how to approach your customers, here are some factors that will help. 

Both your restaurant’s and customer’s needs should be taken into consideration 

If you provide a fast casual experience and your customers belong to a younger demographic, chances are they’ll have a more positive response to a self-serve kiosk.

It may prove easier for your customers to use a screen to indicate their toppings and check them off than it would be to write the information verbally.

On the other hand, if your establishment has a more relaxed and homey atmosphere you’ll probably want to ease into any digital updates, implementing them in stages.

Your customers and waitstaff will give feedback

An ordering and payment kiosk can be a great solution to problems such as slow service, long queues, and repetitive keying errors that lead to incorrect orders.

You might consider a combination approach

Some chain restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings and Chili’s offer guests the ability to look at menu items, order drinks and pay their bills using tablets. It reduces the frustration and wait time of waiting for a waitstaff member to respond during peak times. 

This is not a kiosk but a system that allows you to self-service. It is becoming increasingly popular. This method has the same advantages as self-service kiosks. It speeds up customer service and makes your waitstaff faster. Diners can enjoy the benefits of both, as they still have the option to speak with servers, ask questions, and offer friendly service.

You want to improve the efficiency of your QSR service. Speak to one our expertsContact us today for more information about Small Biz Sense.

Cyndy Lane

Cyndy is business journalist with a focus on entrepreneurship and small business. With over a decade of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Cyndy has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, insightful and approachable journalist. She has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners and is able to explain them in a way that is relatable and actionable for her readers.