Over the years, customer buying habits have changed. Instead of going into a store, talking to a sales clerk, and choosing a product based on the salesperson’s recommendation, consumers are now empowered to do their own research, buy online, and get it delivered to their door. With online shopping taking away from sales at brick and mortar stores, we’re starting to see the same thing happening at restaurants.
Several companies within the industry realize their customers want to order through an app and skip the line. Or guests might prefer entering their order into a kiosk for faster service or to avoid miscommunications.
You might be wondering, "Can I take advantage of self-ordering kiosks and mobile apps to provide better service to my customers?" The answer is, "Yes." Here are the best ways to use self-ordering kiosks and mobile apps in your existing workflow.
Choose kiosks that integrate with your existing POS
One of the most difficult parts of implementing these ordering technologies is cost and complexity. Developing a custom self-ordering kiosk solution for your restaurant can be very expensive. For the average restaurant owner, it wouldn’t make sense to start these steps from scratch.
Instead, you need to understand whether all of this infrastructure is already at your fingertips and easy to implement. Your starting point should be your POS system. Any app or kiosk you use will needs to integrate with your POS system. Fortunately, most POS systems already have modules that allow them to integrate with existing self-ordering kiosks.
This research is the best first step for understanding how easy it will be to implement self-ordering kiosks at your restaurants. Alternatively, look for a self-ordering kiosk vendor that provides an integration for your existing POS system. Building your self-ordering kiosks around your current POS is best because it will allow you to keep your current workflow and back-of-house integration intact.
Determine which mobile ordering solution fits your budget
Mobile apps are very expensive to develop and only a small percentage of consumers use restaurant apps on a regular basis. This makes it hard to calculate the potential ROI for developing an app. A better option may be to look for a plug-and-play solution.
In some cases, your restaurant brand will already have an app that you can leverage. This is an ideal way to quickly benefit from a mobile ordering solution without creating massive overhead. But, what can you do if you don’t have a branded option available to you?
Partner with a third party
Your first option is to partner with a company that can get you exposure in the app store and that adds mobile ordering capabilities without a huge investment. GrubHub and UberEats are popular options for adding ordering capabilities, while LevelUp allows for mobile payment and gets you exposure in the app store. These solutions are available to you at a fraction of the cost of developing and maintaining your own app.
Update your online ordering interface
If these solutions don’t provide you with enough control over the experience, then shift your efforts to your online ordering interface. This type of interface can be developed at a much lower cost and it still allows mobile users to have the capability to order on the go. Developing a better online ordering system can also help you gain more exposure, which is a great added benefit.
No matter what solution you choose, make sure it's right for your business and customers. Self-ordering may be an investment, but it can boost your business and customer loyalty.