Are We at the ‘Tipping Point’ of Self-Serve Restaurant Touch Tables and Kiosks?

Is the “tipping point” for self-service restaurant touch tables and kiosks on the horizon? The question presents itself after some national foodservice chains announced plans to move forward with kiosk technology this year. While the tipping point — that point in time where companies decide they have to invest to remain competitive — is difficult to pinpoint, most experts agree the pace of adoption has accelerated.

While widespread adoption has not yet occurred, razor-thin margins are persuading foodservice operators to invest in the new technology at faster pace.

Interactive Design Cafe recently made a vendor deal for our Cafe22 Touchscreen Cafe Tables with Wasserstrom & Sons, the largest restaurant supplier in North America. While the cost of implementing the technology and the challenge of determining return on investment continue to force companies to be cautious, restaurants are finding themselves forced to consider their options as signs of change are hard to ignore.

Signs of Change

McDonald’s and Wendy’s grabbed the industry’s attention this year in announcing plans to introduce self-order kiosks. Wendy’s plans to have kiosks in 1,000 locations this year, while McDonald’s will have them in all stores after testing kiosks in 500 restaurants.

The overall growth of kiosks in general also contributes to the positive outlook for restaurants. A March 2017 report by Transparency Market Research pegged kiosk growth at 10.9 percent combined annual growth from 2016 to 2024.

Results to Date Have Been Positive for Restaurants.

Panera has been introducing kiosks as part of its Panera 2.0 initiative. Company CEO Ron Shaich said kiosks will reduce wait times, boost order accuracy and minimize crowding while creating a more personalized experience. In the fourth quarter of 2016, Panera’s comparable store sales rose 3 percent over the prior year, credited to its digital efforts.

McDonald’s reported that restaurants that deployed kiosks are experiencing gains in the mid-single digits.

Wendy’s expects to see improved sales and lower labor costs.

Not Just the Big Guys

While major restaurant chains have taken initiative, smaller foodservice outlets like airports, sports arenas and convenience stores are also deploying kiosks.

Corporate dining locations are also embracing self-order and self-checkout kiosks. In corporate dining accounts, return-on-investment is fast, in addition to reducing customer wait time by as much as 50 percent. The customers end up spending 12 to 14 percent more on their food ticket.

Cashless Drives Growth

Another factor driving the growth of kiosks in foodservice is the rising tendency to use credit and debit cards to pay for purchases rather than using cash.

The comfort that the younger generation has with technology also contributes to the demand for kiosks.

As consumers become more comfortable with their mobile devices and payment transactions, self-service kiosks are the next logical step in the shopping experience.

Mid-Size Chains Face Challenges

Noting that the largest and smallest foodservice operators are deploying kiosks more aggressively than mid-size chains, Tommy Wojcik, president of Nextep Systems, said mid-size players are hamstrung by the cost of replacing point-of-sale software systems that don’t support kiosks. Replacing the POS is costly and requires retraining.

Technology, However, Does Not Stand Still.

Self order technology establishes the foundation for additional kiosk capabilities, such as order pickup, nutrition information and loyalty programs.

QSRs, for instance, are already using digital messaging on screens and integrating with credit card payment.

Kiosks also integrate with mobile ordering, another technology that the more progressive restaurants are embracing.

Self-order technology adoption is destined to accelerate, and it is only a matter of time before a large number of operators invest in it. In time, customers will come to expect to use customer-facing screens and touch tables when they go to a restaurant.

The Benefits of Touch Tables with Menu Applications

Benefits of Interactive cafe tables are less waiters on staff, less theft, shorter time span for ordering, customers keep browsing the menu throughout their stay and order more, no need for printed advertising / new digital advertising opportunities, the menu can be easily updated, offers an innovative new experience for guests, and customers pay directly from the table.

Multitouch tables for restaurants are the next innovation to hit the traditional restaurant:

  • Interactive video and image menus
  • Increase of the average check
  • Increased number of customers due to the new format of the venue
  • Abolish printed menus and other presentation materials
  • Reduced service time
  • Reduced service staff
  • Full info on the cuisine within a single touch (history, ingredients, calorie info, recommended drinks)
  • New Interactive advertising opportunities
  • Games, videos, chats, taxi booking, live online broadcasts from the kitchen

Interactive Design Cafe is a global leader in touchscreen innovation. We offer an extensive range of customer experience technologies such as interactive kiosks, multi-touch restaurant tables, digital menu boards, hologram players, RFID pay-at-table, and custom CMS (easy to instantly update) menu software. These technologies make dining as smart and connected as the world we live in. iDesign’s products and solutions are custom designed to meet your brand objectives and goals.

We focus on inspiring your customers with our sleek, high-impact commercial touch tables and kiosks, which can display a variety of content, adding that extra value which no other product can offer.

From initial diagnostics to integration, installation and support, our technology innovation experts can guide and help you identify the right solution and platform which can offer a high impact to your customer experience strategy.

To learn more about Interactive Design Cafe and how we can help your business, please visit our website