The Ultimate Self Serve Kiosk Guide

Priyanka Bhadani9/8/2021

What is a Self-Serve Kiosk?

The word kiosk comes from the Greek word "kikos" which means "tower". In other words, a kiosk is a small structure that is similar to a tower. Also known as interactive kiosks, self-serve kiosks are self-standing displays that present information or facilitate a transaction. In modern times, kiosks are usually associated with those that provide a specific service, such as a ticketing kiosk at a train station. They are a regular part of day-to-day commerce; particularly in the restaurant business.

What is a Self Serve Kiosk?

Some people may not know what a self-serve kiosk is, but they've probably interacted with one. Remember completing self-checkout at groceries or entering your information on a nifty little screen at the Apple store? Those are both types of self-serve kiosks.

It may have a fancy-sounding name, but a kiosk system is just a screen device placed at a strategic location. Stores, tourist attractions, airports, groceries, and other outlets use them to speed up transaction processes. They are also a unique way to showcase a brand and decrease an employee's workload.

Customers may have the option to use a kiosk or order in person, depending on their preferences. In the hospitality industry, customers can use restaurant kiosks and pick up their food at the counter. For those who dislike waiting in line or interacting with others, this is a great option.

There isn't just one type of action you can perform on a kiosk. Restaurants choose the design layout and functionality necessary for them and their customers. Many are embedded with POS systems, which allow customers to pay for an item. Others are used as information centers or navigation outlets. For example, a mall kiosk may show customers all of the store on-site.

Self-serve kiosks are great for businesses, customers, and employees. They are easily customizable, simple to use, and an awesome way to show off a brand. Read ahead to find out more about these popular cloud based structures and why they are so critical in today's market.

Why is a Self Serve Kiosk Important?

There's a lot of talk about self-serve kiosks and their importance in the modern-day restaurant world. The self-serve kiosk is a relatively new and innovative way of providing customer service and conducting transactions. It's a restaurant POS that provides customers with an automated and convenient way of paying and receiving delicious food. Here are some of the top reasons why self-serve kiosks are so important in the restaurant industry.

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1. Self-Serve Kiosks Are Critical for Today's Customers

What's more important than happy customers? The restaurant business is all about good hospitality, and self-serve kiosks make that possible. They are the simplest way for restaurant owners to create a more optimal customer experience and increase profits.

To begin with, customers no longer need to wait in line. They have a choice to order in-person (which some prefer) and do it themselves (on the kiosk). An ordering kiosk streamlines the restaurant queue, which improves the quality of customer service. Customers order and pay, employees receive it, and voila! Food is prepared, finished, and delivered.

This is great during peak hours, where employees are slammed and customers are short-tempered. Customers can also personalize their orders quite easily in a manner of minutes. A common misconception is that face-to-face interactions decrease mistakes in customized orders. Studies show that this isn't necessarily the case. Language barriers and human error can impact the number of mistakes when ordering in person.

Furthermore, customers can choose from several different languages on the restaurant kiosk, which is obviously not possible when ordering in person. That is, unless there's a polyglot employee available. This is essential in a diverse country that is trying to accommodate as many people as possible.

2. Self-Serve Kiosks Increase Low Profit Margins

Which restaurant owner hasn't had a hard time since COVID-19? Between health restrictions and enforced closures, owning a restaurant has been tough. Many have had to shut down permanently. Others have lost millions in profits.

One sector that increased its profits is the fast-food industry. While the ability to offer drive-through certainly helped, kiosks may have played a role as well. Health-conscious customers often feel more comfortable ordering on a kiosk than exchanging money in person.

Furthermore, restaurants don't need as many employees to take orders. This cuts down on labor costs while minimally impacting patrons. As a result, many restaurants can increase profits and cut back on costs. In a challenging market with fluctuating regulations, every penny saved and made counts.

3. Self-Serve Kiosks Are Necessary for Overworked Employees

Restaurant employees across the country have had an equally challenging time in the last few years. Health-based codes, job losses, and labor shortages are making an already difficult job even harder. While self ordering kiosks don't solve every problem, they can help minimize some of their workload.

Employees don't need to help as many customers at once. Not only does this make their work-life easier, but it also improves the quality of service. Rather than feeling rushed and stressed out, employees can concentrate on one order at a time. They also don't have to worry about making a mistake while inputting an order, as the customers already did it.

When customers place orders, it minimizes conflicts with employees. This tends to improve workplace morale. It also shortens the queue time and provides space for workers to focus on more critical tasks. Restaurant owners can use their top talent for other projects, which will further increase profit and draw in more customers.

Common Self Service Kiosk Uses

Self-service kiosks are popping up everywhere! It seems like they're in every supermarket, at the airport, and even in the mall. But do you know how they are most commonly used, particularly for the restaurant industry? Here are the top 4 common self-service kiosk uses, though there are many others.

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1. Self-Serve Kiosks as a POS

Customers can easily use self service kiosks to purchase items. They can either use cash or credit cards, depending on kiosk functionality. Restaurants, retailers, movie theaters, and many other entities provide kiosks for this reason. This streamlines the payment process and shortens queue waiting time.

2. Self-Serve Kiosks Provide Information

Many businesses use kiosks as information centers. For example, a museum may have an interactive kiosk to tell a visitor about a specific display. Or, a mall can use a self-serve kiosk to provide store information and locations. Restaurants often incorporate product information into their kiosk to improve sales and showcase a brand.

3. Self-Serve Kiosks for Retail Goods

Many retailers offer kiosks as a way to increase sales and offer information about an item. Customers can order a specific item or look up more data before making it. Nowadays, big box stores also sell food inside. They can increase sales by allowing customers to order food on a kiosk, along with other retail items.

4. Self-Serve Kiosks for Printing and Checking In

Airports and other transportation centers use kiosks to speed up the check-in process. Customers can find their reservations, input information, and update tickets. They can also print them off. This frees up the workload for employees and minimizes headaches that lead to mistakes and poor service. Restaurant customers can print off receipts for their personal use or in case there is an order discrepancy.

Steps to Implement Self Serve Kiosks

Digital signage kiosks are great resources for a lot of industries. From the food industry to the airline industry, kiosk software allows for a simplified service process. In the spirit of providing a service to our readers, here are the top ways to implement self-serve kiosks.

1. Implement Self-Serve Kiosks by Finding Your Need

Don't just go out and buy a kiosk because the competitor down the street has one. Think about why you need one. Review the current business model and consider how it can be improved with a self-serve kiosk. What are the restaurant's business goals? How will a kiosk improve profits and the quality of service? What should be offered on there? These are the questions every owner needs to ask before investing.

2. Use the Right POS System to Implement a Self-Serve Kiosk

Every restaurant owner must do a lot of research into the industry of self-serve kiosks. Whether you plan on purchasing 2 or 20, find a high-quality vendor who meets your specific business needs. First, assess all of the restaurant's competitors and see what kiosks they use.

If possible, look into profit increases or any other data that relates to their kiosk choice. Choose a POS system that is highly integrated and intuitive. Don't go cheap or you'll be looking at potential breakdowns and even data breaches.

3. Integrate Self-Serve Kiosks into the Omni-Channel Experience

What exactly is an omni-channel experience? Essentially, it's the capacity to provide various methods for customers to order and pay for items in real time. Only accepting cash or cards is not the way to go if you want to make the most of your kiosk.

All kiosks should diversify the ordering experience. In other words, if customers forget their card, they can pay with cash. If they forget their cash, they can pay with a card. Make it as simple as possible for any customer to spend money.

4. Choose Strategic Locations for Self-Serve Kiosk

Where you put your kiosk is almost as important as kiosk functionality. It must be in a strategic location that is easily accessible and out of the way. It can't create crowds that interfere with employee work or customer access. At the same time, it can't be in a corner where nobody can see it. Quick-service restaurants typically put them in a location where lines can easily be formed. They should be in a separate location from the registers to avoid interfering with those customer lines.

5. Design Self-Serve Kiosk and Plan Your Launch

Now it's time to design the kiosk. This can be tricky, as the design should be highly intuitive and easy to navigate. Consider that many customers are older and are not used to interacting with a kiosk. Use larger font and include pictures, as this always tends to increase sales. This also ensures customers know exactly what they are ordering, which minimizes bottlenecks. Vibrant colors and an easy-to-use touchscreen are also critical.

Finally, it's time to consider your big launch. How are you going to deploy it? Will it be in one day, or over a few days? Will you start with one kiosk and move to 5 over time? Or are you going to deploy them all at once? How will you tell customers about it? Answering these is critical to answer to ensure a successful launch.

Benefits of Self Serve Kiosks

Customers are demanding self-serve kiosks. It's estimated that by 2020, more than 1 in 3 restaurants will have them. But what are their benefits? Here are the top advantages of kiosk software for restaurants.

1. Self-Serve Kiosks Save Resources

One of the top benefits of self-serve kiosks is that they save a lot of money, time, and resources. Employees don't need to interact with as many customers and can focus on other tasks. Customers can take care of their ordering process and not wait in line. There are fewer mistakes, which creates less workload for management. All of this adds up over time.

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2. Self-Serve Kiosks are Highly Adaptable

You can easily customize your kiosk to your liking. You can easily add new menu items or delete old ones to meet business needs. You can fix any mistakes with a few simple clicks, from multiple locations. Software typically comes with apps, which enables managers to make updates while off-site. You can sometimes even change the functionality of a kiosk, depending on the vendor.

3. Self-Serve Kiosks Increase Connectivity

Self-serve kiosks are highly interactive and fun to use. There's a reason why so many people gravitate towards them. People like to do things themselves, particularly in a quick-service restaurant.

Moreover, the number of colors and fonts available lure in the customer. Restaurants can also showcase tantalizing pictures of food items, which is always a big plus. All of this increased connectivity and interactivity increases sales.

4. Self-Serve Kiosks Increase Profits

Restaurants can serve more customers at one time. Less manpower is required, as there's a machine that can automatically assist customers. Employees can point to the kiosk technology to reduce wait times and minimize conflict.

As a result, customers will be much happier. Happier customers tend to tell their friends and spend more money. Due to labor cost savings, restaurants can further increase profits. This is great for the bottom line.

Self Serve Kiosk Myths

There are a lot of myths swirling around about self-serve kiosks. While they certainly have some limitations and downsides, self ordering kiosks are generally a good investment. Here are some of the top kiosk myths that must be debunked.

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1. Self-Serve Kiosks Will Take Your Job

While it's true that restaurants may not need to hire as many people due to a kiosk, they don't cause job losses. If anything, owners can get better use out of their top talent. Employees also have other responsibilities, as customers are ordering in-person and on the kiosk. This may lead to more hiring, as owners will need additional staff to cook items. Because kiosks help increase profits, restaurants will have more money to invest in their employees.

2. Customers Will Automatically Flock to Self-Serve Kiosks

Customers are used to ordering in person. They are going to do what they know to do. Even if you tell them that the kiosk is easy to use, many dislike changes. This is why restaurants need to place kiosks in strategic locations and optimize their design. They must be intuitive, straightforward to locate, and the easier option.

3. Self-Serve Kiosks are a One-Time Investment

You are going to have to keep the kiosk updated and maintained. This is why it's so critical to find the right vendor. High-quality software and hardware will minimize the number of breakdowns and required updates. That being said, maintenance is not that expensive and kiosks are relatively easy to update. They simply require regular monitoring, like any other piece of technology.

4. Self-Serve Kiosks are Not Secure

Data security is critical in today's day and age. Restaurants may be hesitant to invest in kiosk technology due to a potential data security breach. Well-built systems contain good security measures that keep potential hackers and breaches at bay. This is another reason to invest in a good vendor. Maintaining customer data is critical, as a breach can lead to bankruptcy and a ruined reputation.

5. Self-Serve Kiosks are Hard to Use

Well-designed kiosks are intuitive even for the most non-tech-savvy individual. With obvious directions and simple color schemes, any customer can easily place an order and pay. There are also multiple language options to accommodate every type of customer. It's also very simple to make changes to an order or to delete an item. In fact, it's probably easier to order from a kiosk than it is to order in person.

Hot Self Serve Kiosk Trends

So, what are the top self-serve kiosk technology trends to know about? While technology changes every day, there are some must-know features in the market. These include

  • Clean, One-Piece Screen Design Safety is more of a priority now than ever before. Many restaurants are seeking one-piece, bezel-free designs for this reason. They are much more aesthetically pleasing and easier to keep clean. A bezel-free design is a flat glass interface that employees can quickly clean. Furthermore, there are no mechanical buttons to push.

  • Antimicrobial Coatings Another safe and aesthetically pleasing trend is antimicrobial glass screens. These contain silver, which minimizes bacteria and prevents scratches. They also minimize a lot of cracks, which can lead to more bacteria growth.

  • QR Codes on Receipts Contactless payments are all the rage right now. Kiosks can print out QR code receipts. The customer can scan the code with a phone and finish a transaction so they don't have to pay on the screen. While this may seem like an extra step, many health-conscious customers prefer it.

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