Self-service restaurant kiosks: Choosing the right kiosks for your business
March 11, 2021
The way we order food has changed drastically and this is driven in no small part by the adoption of restaurant technology, such as self-serve kiosks. Restaurant kiosks have been shown to significantly boost throughput capacity and increase average spend – one study found that ATV is 30% higher on average when customers order on a kiosk – resulting in widespread adoption of kiosks throughout the QSR sector and beyond, over the past decade.
For restaurant operators considering self-serve kiosks for their business, it can be hard to know where to start, let alone how to incorporate them as part of your wider strategy. Which kiosk provider should I use? What hardware do I need? How many kiosks should I install? How do I make sure my customers actually use them? These are all common questions that we get asked at Vita Mojo.
This post outlines the key considerations you should make when choosing kiosks for your restaurant. Follow these four simple steps to ensure you get the best value from your self-serve kiosk technology.
Four steps to choosing your self-serve restaurant kiosks
Step one: Start with the right kiosk software for your brand
Choosing the right restaurant technology has historically been a hardware-led decision but as hardware is becoming cheaper and more standardised, it’s increasingly what’s on the inside (your kiosk software) that really counts. Choosing the right software provider for your kiosks will have the most influence on the quality of your customer experience, your flexibility in making kiosks work within your restaurant operations, and the overall success of your kiosks.
When choosing touch screen kiosk software, look for a digital interface that will work well for your particular brand and menu. Does the kiosk make your menu feel bland and generic, or vibrant and dynamic? Good kiosk technology will guide your customers intuitively through your menu, enabling easy ordering and payment. Modern customers have little patience for bad UX so if using your kiosks is too much effort then they will simply default back to your tills, and you won’t see payback on your investment.
The higher ATV associated with kiosks is directly linked to the UX the software provides, so it pays to invest in software that is designed thoughtfully. As well as being simple and easy to navigate, your kiosk system should highlight your customisations, added extras and basket-level upsells, to push up transaction value. Northern kebab brand I am Doner found that upsells increased by 40% when they introduced Vita Mojo’s self-service kiosks in their fast food restaurants.
Ideally your kiosk software will also integrate with your POS and other ordering channels, so you can gather holistic sales data and maximise operational efficiencies in your back-of-house too.
In summary: Good kiosk software is key. Make sure it looks great and upsells your menu.
Step two: Choose your kiosk hardware and spread out the cost
Once you’ve found a software provider you’re happy with, the next decision you need to make is: what size of kiosks screen do you want? Large kiosks are eye-grabbing and easy for customers to use, but tend to be more expensive and take up a lot of space. Conversely, smaller kiosks can work well in a site with a smaller site footprint but may be harder to spot when customers walk in, reducing overall usage.
Will your kiosks be free-standing, wall mounted or countertop? Selecting the right kiosk peripherals is important, too. A bespoke kiosk stand may look amazing, but the price for customisation is high. On the other hand, standard kiosk stands may be less impressive but they provide a much quicker turnaround and cost dramatically less. Consider cardboard cladding and other decoration options to improve your kiosk’s aesthetics without breaking the bank.
How much does restaurant kiosk hardware cost? In total, a standard kiosk’s hardware tends to work out at £1000 to £1500, including the screen, stand, wall mount, ePDQ and other core hardware. With three kiosks, a high footfall QSR can expect to see these costs covered after just one month. Even so, this is significant capital investment – particularly when multiplied across several sites. For this reason, it’s best to prioritise your highest footfall locations and rollout gradually to trial your kiosk choices and spread your hardware costs over time.
In summary: Keep your kiosk hardware simple and test in high-footfall locations first.
Step three: Carefully consider the placement of your self-serve kiosks
One factor that is often overlooked by operators is the physical placement of your digital kiosks. Where you position your kiosks within your restaurant venues can have a major impact on customer uptake, which directly affects your bottom line. In our work with leading QSR brands we have found that testing out various locations and signage options is paramount in optimising your site flow to direct customers towards your kiosks and encouraging them to order for themselves rather than joining a queue for the till.
When Leon investigated the success of various kiosk locations, they found that those placed outside the restaurant were the most effective – receiving around 27% more orders than those placed inside. Inside the restaurant, kiosks should be placed in direct line of sight from the entrance, such kiosks received 28% more orders than kiosks placed elsewhere inside Leon restaurants. Find out more about how we partnered with Leon for their digital transformation here.
In summary: Plan and test your restaurant flow to maximise uptake of your kiosks.
Step four: Incorporate self-serve kiosks into your wider digital strategy
Get the most out of your self-serve kiosks by planning how they will connect to the rest of your restaurant tech stack. As a standalone tool self-serve kiosks can boost throughput and revenue for restaurants but when they operate within an integrated data ecosystem it takes the benefits to the next level. Being able to send orders from all your channels into a single back-of-house system can drastically boost fulfilment efficiency, while big-picture sales data segmented by channel can give strategic insight into your customers’ habits.
One of the unique benefits of kiosks compared to other digital channels is their accessibility: you don’t need to download an app or scan a QR code, you don’t even need to have your mobile on you, you can just walk up to a kiosk and order. The low friction nature of kiosks can make them an ideal gateway into your digital brand. Consider how this can provide a strategic advantage for onboarding new digital customers onto other digital channels, such as Click & Collect, for their return visit.
When HOP Vietnamese adapted their QSR business during the pandemic they introduced self-service kiosks as part of their multi-channel fast-casual concept. HOP 2.0 enabled greater convenience and meal customisation for their customers while reducing kitchen labour by 20% and increasing average spend by 15-20%. Read more about HOP’s digital transformation here.
In summary: Integrate your kiosks for better data insights and operational flows.
How to get started with self-service kiosks
Figuring out self-service kiosks can be complex, and they are just one piece of the restaurant technology that modern operators need to juggle. We know it can all get a bit overwhelming. That’s why it’s great to look for a software provider who has experience with this process, and can provide consultancy, as well as technology, to support you on your digital journey.
At Vita Mojo we’ve been doing self-serve kiosks since we started out with our own QSR restaurants back in 2015. Since then, we’ve learned a lot about how to best implement kiosks as part of a multi-channel digital strategy. We partner with leading brands, taking the time to understand your unique business needs, and our partnership with hardware provider Elo means we can manage ordering all your kiosk hardware quickly and efficiently.