Today, we’re going to explore a growing trend for restaurants in the U.S. and around the world – self-service kiosks – and how to integrate them into your restaurant for greater efficiency for you, and a streamlined experience for your guests.
Self-service kiosks put guests in charge of placing and tendering their own orders, minimizing their interaction with restaurant employees. They may be geared toward the tech savvy and those who prefer speed and efficiency, or for customers who value privacy over human interaction at the point-of-sale. It’s been said that kiosks can turn your QSR into a vending machine if you’re not careful, so it’s critical that your guests don’t get frustrated with malfunctioning machines, a slow service process, or simply because they don’t understand how to use the technology.
Instead, view kiosks as a means of improving the customer experience, not replacing it. Here are a few tips for using kiosks to streamline the ordering process and further engage customers.
- Make a good first impression. The kiosk area and machines are the face of your customer experience; keep the area inviting, neat and clean, and the machines in good repair.
- Be ready to help. Deploy a service expert in the kiosk area to train and assist guests in completing their orders. You’re essentially training your guests to be your cashiers, and you can really have some fun with this, but you must train and deploy the right people to make this work.You and your customer service team must be experts in the technology and excel in guest interactions. You can do this by:
— Understanding how your menu relates to the technology, so that guests can customize their order exactly the way they want it prepared.
— Anticipating questions and frustrations your guests may have, and being prepared to address them.
— Offering discounts, or even buying a guest’s meal, as a gesture to help them through their learning curve with your new technology.
— And, directing guests after they place their order, so they know where to go and what to expect next.
- Offer choices. Give your guests the option to either use the kiosk or place their order with a cashier. Make sure a cashier is ready on a cash register to manage overflow and take care of guests who prefer not to use the kiosk.
- Focus on speed and accuracy. Kiosk guests expect their order to be prepared faster and more accurately. This may mean making adjustments to your people or processes to ensure food is prepared quickly and correctly, and to keep customers happy.
- Reposition employees where you need them. Many operators view kiosks as a step-up in labor efficiency, speed, and accuracy and do so by re-deploying labor replaced by the kiosks into the following areas:
— into the kitchen to meet the increased production demand
— into the guest contact areas, like hosts or hostesses and guest assistance
— and, into other areas of the business where you may be short-handed, such as training, development, or a cleaning program
There will be opportunities for labor savings along the way, which you can explore as you accrue history and experience.
- Be prepared for “Plan B.” Have contingency plans in the event that a kiosk fails. Keep a list of reliable service vendors and help lines, and understand expected repair times and where orders are placed when kiosks are down. Having this information handy will minimize both down time and stress levels.
- And, finally, don’t let your guard down when it comes to employee theft. Putting guests in charge of placing and tendering their orders at a kiosk greatly reduces the opportunity for employee theft at the cash register. But theft and wrong-doing are still a possibility and must be monitored vigilantly.
There you have it – 7 ways to make the most of kiosks for both you and your guests.
For more on measuring customer experience results, monitoring employee performance, or using metrics to coach employees, visit www.delaget.com/coach.