The Ultimate Guide to Using Self-Service Restaurant Kiosks

If you want to learn how to cut long lines and decrease customer wait times, you should consider bringing the self-service restaurant kiosk to your business. 

What are self-service restaurant kiosks? 

Self-service restaurant kiosks are free-standing ordering systems that allow customers to place and pay for an order on their own. Self-ordering kiosks are touchscreens with POS capabilities that make it simple and easy for customers to customize their orders and pay with a credit card. Customers want to make their orders and have their food delivered as fast as possible. Restaurant kiosks make ordering simple and efficient for both customers and restaurants alike.

How Self-Service Restaurant Kiosks Work

Guests use a touchscreen that is synced with a restaurant POS system to browse through a digital version of a restaurant menu. They select the items they want and customize how they want their order. The last step is to place the order and make the payment without the need to involve a human cashier. Payment can be made through credit cards or mobile payment options.

Once the order has been placed, the customer selection is sent straight to the kitchen and can appear on kitchen display systems. The order is instantly synced with the restaurant POS system and taken through the other ordinary stages of ordering food.

Benefits of Self-Service Restaurant Kiosks

What makes the restaurant kiosks an attractive business model is the ordering process. The model makes the ordering process in a restaurant more efficient, meeting the needs and expectations of the customers. 

Restaurant kiosks are convenient for both customers and businesses. It was first thought customers patrons would want to order from a person but data has shown otherwise as they are saving a lot of time and can customize their order. Fast food chains benefit the most from this aspect since the process is automated, meaning that all employees optimally improve customer experience. For instance, restaurants no longer have to employ people at the cashier registers. Instead, they recruit more staff for assembling orders, reducing wait times, and delivering orders quickly.

Restaurant kiosks allow a customer to order exactly what they want. They do not have to be limited on the exact menu but can decide to mix up things to build a totally new meal. The touchscreens allow you to be creative and personalize your meal to get exactly what you want. The ability to personalize and customize your order also means that the touchscreen considers the dietary preferences of different customers. Customers who follow special dietary lifestyles like vegan, keto, paleo, or gluten-free can choose the meals that they love from the digital menu list.

Restaurant kiosks improve the accuracy of orders. For many years, order accuracy has been an issue, especially in quick service restaurants. Customers usually go through a frustrating experience whenever they want to request an order change via the food counter. Apart from the process being slow, the changes are never accurate. However, restaurant kiosks allow customers to add, edit, or delete ingredients of their orders and create any specifications on how they want their food to be prepared.

Restaurant kiosks drive sales. Normally, customers tend to spend more on self-checkout kiosks compared to traditional food counters. When placing orders, the kiosk system tends to upsell other menu items before checkout. The tablet and kiosk menus usually include menu prompts, which recommend extras. For instance, when a guest selects a salad on the menu, a pop may appear asking whether they would like to add chicken for $5.

Restaurant kiosks increase profitability. As an emerging modern restaurant technology, kiosks integrate touchscreen ordering that boosts sales. In McDonald’s the integration of restaurant kiosks in their business model boosted its quick service restaurants. According to a report in Forbes, the company reported an increase in the average check size by 30% whenever guests use digital ordering. A similar trend was reported by Taco Bell, where kiosks increased average check sizes increased by about 20%.

Restaurant kiosks support staff and decrease labor costs. With self-service kiosks, your restaurant doesn’t need as many people taking orders. This limits your reliance on your staff and gives your team time to do other things. Servers spend less time taking orders from the client and running to the kitchen. By focusing on one area only, they become more effective while bonding with guests and their colleagues.

Types of Businesses that Integrate Restaurant Kiosks

While self-service restaurant kiosks are typically thought of as a tool for fast food establishments, they can be used across a variety of restaurant types and industries. Here are a few ways that restaurants are using self-serving kiosks to better serve their customers. 

Quick Service Restaurants

For quick service restaurants, the self-serve kiosks are usually placed near the entrance where guests browse menus, place their orders, and pay without having to stand in line.

Fast Casual Restaurants

The fast casual restaurants are often providing the restaurant kiosks near the entrance as a way to view the menu and in some cases with the ordering options to order before seating.

Full Service Restaurants

Other, full service restaurants like fine dining and bars are using tablet menus, which are more versatile. These restaurants place a tablet on the table, where customers can make their orders instead of having to go through waitstaff.

How to Set Up a Self-Service Restaurant Kiosk

If you are thinking of setting up a self-service restaurant kiosk, you can check out the several stages that are involved:

1. Identify Customer Experience: You need to think about the kind of user experience you want to design for your customers. Understand who your target customers are, their needs, and how the kiosk can address those needs.

2. Choose a Language: Choose a language that is used by your customer. While English may be your first choice, you may consider a second or third language depending on the kind of customers you attract.

3. Customize Your Kiosk: Customize your touchscreen to include everything that a customer may need. For instance, you may include a Get Help button to help customers with the common challenges faced when interacting with the kiosk. An alternative would be a simple How it Works options to guide the customer on the steps involved in using the kiosk.

4. Provide Order Options: Provide a variety of options for ordering food. You may include options such as dining inside the restaurant or carryout for those that want to eat at home or on the go. 

5. Customize Dishes: Your restaurant kiosk needs to have a variety of food to choose from. Customize your dishes so that your restaurant can stand out from the rest. Provide the option for the customers to personalize their order, and be creative on the combination of the food that they want to order. This also includes the ability to add and remove ingredients before placing an order.

6. Integrate a Payment System: Your restaurant kiosk is only complete if customers are allowed to make a payment on the system without having to engage a human cashier. Once a customer has selected the items they want, they should be able to proceed to checkout and make a payment through a payment processing system. Since the entire process is digitally driven, make sure you have integrated the appropriate payment methods. This may include payment via card using a pun, magstripe, EMV chip, or contactless payments using NFC.

7. Integrate Kiosks to Your POS: Your restaurant kiosk should be fully integrated to your restaurant POS. You need to have a way of tracking the sales made through the kiosks, the inventory used, and the payment received. The whole process should be seamless and cover all the necessities needed to place an order and have the food ready. Integrating the kiosk system to the restaurant point-of-sale ensures that the business is running as one. 

Related: Top Restaurant POS Systems: The Comparative Buyer’s Guide

Tips for Finding the Best Self-Service Restaurant Kiosk

Before deciding to integrate a restaurant kiosk into your business, you need to consider several factors. 

The first thing you need to consider is the kind of customer that you have and your type of restaurant. You need to ensure that your customers will respond positively to self-checkout kiosks. For instance, fast-casual restaurants tend to appeal to a younger customer who may respond positively to self-serve kiosks. On the contrary, a sit-in establishment that offers a relaxed atmosphere may not respond well to the kiosk model. Such restaurants can benefit from a human touch.

Take time to get feedback from your customers and waitstaff. If the customers are excited about a system where they can serve themselves, then the kiosk model may work. You may also consider setting up a restaurant kiosk if service is taking too long or the lines at the counter tend to be long at specific times of the day. Having a kiosk will help you overcome challenges associated with multiple menu options, ordering, and payments.

Why Now Is the Time to Embrace Restaurant Kiosks

Traditionally, customers are used to taking initiatives at many dining establishments and tend to prefer to do so. This is through placing their orders at the counters or choosing food items they want from a buffet. The model has been widely accepted as a way of allowing guests to order and receive their meals in shorter times. In the recent past, this same model has evolved to kiosk systems with self-checkout screens.

With the emergence of ordering kiosks systems, customers can now scan and select on-screen menus before placing their orders. The process is fully automated without any human interaction as payments can be made via credit cards. For some of the major fast-food establishments, the self-service kiosk has become the norm to meet the increasing customer demands. Big brands like Taco Bell and McDonald’s have already set up restaurant kiosks in almost all their locations.

One of the ways small restaurant chains are using technological innovations to join the trend is by incorporating digital tablets at their tables showcasing their menu specials. The tablets have the option to order meals or drinks and make payments, allowing the restaurant to meet increased customer demands. With this becoming the norm, many restaurant owners are considering adding the kiosk technology in their business model.


Related: How To Be More Efficient with Self-Ordering Restaurant Technology

Bring the Benefits of Restaurant Kiosks to Your Business 

Now that you know the ins and outs of self-service restaurant kiosks and how valuable they are to businesses, are you ready to bring this technology to your business?

To learn more about how you can set up restaurant kiosks in your business, grab our free guide How the Self Ordering Restaurant Kiosk Is Changing the Way We Eat Out. Or, get started today by getting a free demo of Lavu Restaurant Kiosks to see how our restaurant POS systems and kiosks can work for your business. 

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