Jun 1 | 4 min read

How Self-Service Kiosks Are Reshaping Fast Food Restaurants

Self-service kiosks are helping fast food restaurants increase order size, boost productivity, and reopen safer, all while improving the customer experience

Aila Staff

When McDonald’s decided to roll out self-service kiosks back in 2017, they led the effort with customer experience in mind. By transitioning back-of-the-house positions to more customer service-oriented roles, they could focus on what really matters: making their customers happy.

In doing so, they also had another pretty tasty result — a twenty-six percent jump in their share price. Investment firms raised ratings on McDonald’s shares to outperform their initial market predictions, leading to an all-time high. 

Three years later, and in the midst of a global pandemic, self-service solutions are more important than ever. More than a technology upgrade, today’s ordering self-service kiosks are helping enterprises deliver the speed and convenience customers expect, while providing a way forward to reopening restaurants from the Covid-19 crisis. Further, self-service kiosks provide a path to along with greater operational efficiency to innovate and scale quickly in these times of uncertainty. 

Responsibly Reopening

As stores around the world prepare to welcome customers back into their brick-and-mortar locations, fast food restaurants will look to self-service kiosks as a way to improve social distancing inside the store. 

Restaurants that have already implemented self-service solutions will update their roadmap to include ways to improve cleanliness and minimize contact between customers and kiosks.

One way to achieve this is by utilizing scanning kiosks that let customers scan a QR code on their phone to pick up and pay for orders without having to touch a screen or type a PINs. 

However, we can expect to see self-service kiosks used in a number of other ways around the world, from curbside pickup to temperature checking and more. 


Improved Customer Experience

No one would call customer experience a sleeper. Yet, transitioning roles from back-of-house to customer-facing has a much higher chance of success when those interactions are truly higher-value interactions. 

Today’s consumers increasingly expect personalization and customization at every level of their experience. A self-service option empowers customers with the speed and convenience of online, freeing up staff to better respond to customer requests, offer personalized recommendations, and guide more sales by delivering a superior experience to customers. 

Self-service kiosks in fast-food restaurants let customers order exactly what they want in just a few clicks. Meanwhile, the “order taker” is now in front of the counter in a customer satisfaction role instead. The combination of speed, convenience, and great customer service are now all part of the customer’s experience. 

Boosted Productivity  

With fast food self-service kiosks, enterprises can also replace many rote processes that frustrate both staff and customers with fast and convenient ways to shop, allowing staff to actually connect with their customers in more meaningful ways.

Deployed in key areas throughout the store, our platform provides customers with a digital touchpoint that is within reach to help in a variety of ways, from ordering to product recommendations and checkout. Fast food enterprises can then deploy staff in strategic locations to help where it’s needed, whether that’s by bringing food out to customers or by hopping on a register when lines are busy.

Increased order sizes

“Would you like fries with your order?” Rather than asking when there’s a long line of customers behind you waiting to place their orders, self-service kiosks prevent long lines, removing the rush and the order recommendations now feel like a helpful on-screen tip. 

McDonald’s found that the extra dwell time at its self-service kiosks provided a boost in sales. 

“What we are finding is when people dwell more, they tend to select more,” McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook told CNBC. “So, there is a little bit of an average check boost that comes with it.”

Constant Innovation

A lot has changed since the early rollouts of self-service kiosks. While customers now simply know what they want, the processes and technology that make it possible are complicated. 

Legacy systems are limited, siloed, expensive, and cannot keep up with the demands of the modern consumer. The clunky self-service systems of yesterday are quickly being replaced by sleek and intuitive touch-points that integrate seamlessly with their environments and other advancing technology. 

Big and bulky is being replaced by sleek and powerful. Large and expensive with modular and lower TCO. With more flexibility and lower cost, enterprises can adapt to industry changes and be flexible enough to even change the industry themselves.

Aila’s Interactive Kiosk provides a versatile and user-friendly self-service solution for enterprise fast-food restaurants. Learn more about the Interactive Kiosk for QSR by downloading the solution sheet:

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