Top five self-service kiosk tips with Neil Sebba of Tossed

All, Casual Dining & Quick-Service, Digital Ordering, Products

August 9, 2022

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In our recent webinar, ‘Building a restaurant of the future with self-service kiosks‘, we explored how kiosks can transform your operations and increase customer spend and how to master software, hardware, installation and order fulfilment. We were joined by Neil Sebba, Managing Director at Tossed who talked us through how kiosks streamlined his labour model and increased customer satisfaction.

During the live Q&A we had some great questions around space planning, creating a great customer journey and how to maximise on data capture.

Should we go fully digital with kiosks or should we still be taking cash payments?

While some customers do prefer using cash, digital payment is becoming the main payment method across a lot of sectors. If you’re thinking about installing kiosks but worried your cash paying customers may not adapt, start to think about how you can drive those kiosk transactions. For example, simple customisations, ease of browsing the menu and a great UI is something a lot of our clients, and their customers love.

There are a lot of benefits to using kiosks – for both staff and customers – and once those benefits are realised, consumers will often opt for the easiest, simplest and fastest option, which in this case will be your kiosks. 60% of customers and 84% of Gen Z actively choose one food outlet over another if they have kiosks, so that’s a lot of business to capitalise on. If you’re still unsure, work out the proportion of cash transactions compared to card or digital; it’s often much lower than you think. You could also survey your cash paying customers to really understand why they use cash and whether they’d consider card payment. And for any customers that are really averse to using digital payment and kiosks, point them to your till. Installing kiosks doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your POS!

Do you capture the data on your kiosks and what’s your advice on maximising your data? We have a lot of data but don’t know what to do with it.

In short, yes, we can capture that data. While we integrate with other loyalty providers, we also offer our own loyalty product. We wanted our clients to be in control of their data so we designed our loyalty programme with flexibility in mind. For example, clients can select the number of points customers receive per pound spent and the number of points needed to unlock a discount. Using our loyalty programme, you’ll have full visibility over your data which you can access through the reporting tools. We also offer bespoke reporting to help you really understand your customers and use that data to encourage your loyal following to not only come back, but to also spend more

We’re based in city centres, and I’m not sure if kiosks would physically fit. Do you have any advice on how kiosks would work in small sites?

Space planning is essential here. Ask yourself how your customers currently flow through your sites and what they do when they walk in. For example, do they go straight to the food/display counter or do they stand in the centre to look at the menu boards before ordering? Now start to think about what you’d like the new journey to look like. Do you want kiosks front and centre or would you prefer kiosks down the side with a larger collection area? 

In our recent consumer survey, we found that 81% of London-based consumers use kiosks over ordering at the till compared to 70% across the rest of the UK. Consumer behaviour is shifting towards a preference for kiosks, with a stronger preference in cities where sites are typically smaller.

We have a number of clients with smaller sites and some located in market halls where kiosks work really well. If you are constrained by size, we’d recommend a smaller iPad or Android tablet and for very small sites you could even have tablets on the counter. This can work really well when well planned and thought through, as it gives your customers the option to either engage with the staff member behind the counter and if needed ask questions or request support or they can self-order. There are plenty of options if you have a smaller site – you can work with our sales and client success teams, or there are consultants that specialise in space planning too. 

“We operate in small sites around 700-800 square feet with anywhere between 10 to 14 kiosks. We have a complex menu which is fully customisable, but I’ve seen other operators with just six to eight kiosks. I think it depends on your operations, the space you have available and what you can afford to give up, but it is doable.”

Neil Sebba, Managing Director, Tossed

It’s really important to plan upfront so that you can take into account any concerns or considerations before you install your kiosks. Whenever we roll out kiosks with our clients, we recommend having a pilot store where you can test and trial or choosing an initial store for the first installation before rolling out to the entire estate. We bake that into our project launch plans so we can work with you to figure out what’s best for you and your sites.

In terms of flexibility, if you’re really unsure about the layout and would prefer a trial period, you could opt for smaller iPad or Android tablets. That way you can play around with the spacing and layout more easily and once you’ve perfected it, you could then go for a more permanent, fixed solution like floor-to-ceiling or mounted kiosk. 

“I’ve seen some operators using kiosks on wheels, which I think is clever as you can move them around to test what location is best for your sites. We chose to go all in and build our kiosks on large counters with tensor barriers to help manage the flow of customers throughout the store. If you spend a lot of time on the shop floor and talking to customers, you’ll soon see if it’s working for them and how you can tweak the flow. I suggest speaking to other operators who have similar operations to you and be open to  their learnings and insights. I’d even recommend going to their sites and testing out their kiosks – it’ll really help you get a feel for what you like and what you want to replicate. One of our sites is next door to HOP Vietnamese and I often catch up with the founder, Paul Hopper. It’s fascinating, our operations are essentially the same but the layout is totally different. It does take an element of bravery but it is possible.”Neil Sebba, Managing Director, Tossed

How easily do customers adapt to kiosks?

Customers have become used to using kiosks not just within hospitality, but across other industries as well, from retail and supermarkets to self check-in at airports. It’s clear, not just from what we’re seeing and hearing in the industry, but from our consumer survey that kiosks are becoming the gateway channel that people are familiar with and comfortable using. We’ve also seen for many of our clients that kiosks help to drive adoption across other channels as well like Click & Collect or Delivery. If your customers are used to using kiosks, it’s less of a jump to start using other ordering tech.

“We installed kiosks into our sites in 2016, so we went through that journey quite a long time ago now, when adoption faced far more resistance. Now, the take up is so high and the tech has advanced hugely. Since installing kiosks, we’ve created a ‘host role’ and I’ve seen the hosts coach customers on how to use our kiosks for those that are either really unsure or crave that human interaction. But as a central London operator, our main customer base is office workers, who generally tend to be tech savvy having spent the last two years using tech to work remotely. Fundamentally everything runs through technology nowadays so it’s almost unavoidable.”Neil Sebba, Managing Director, Tossed

Don’t forget to download our Kiosk guide for adeep dive into kiosk installation, space planning and how to create a great user experience along with expert advice from industry leaders and leading operators. 

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