Consumer demand for restaurant kiosks is on the rise
Image courtesy of iStock
|Perse Faily is CEO of Tillster.|
By Perse Faily
As more restaurant brands use digital tools to upgrade guest experiences, kiosks are no longer novelty items for just a few select businesses. Initially common in limited markets, they're popping up in major restaurant chains all around the world.
Customers crave the ease, convenience and speed of digital ordering, which has been shown to boost brand loyalty and increase average check by up to 30 percent for restaurants. And, kiosks can actually improve customer interactions with staff by inviting meaningful exchanges that don't center on order taking.
But despite these benefits, kiosks still have something of an image issue. Digital tools are sometimes perceived as the domain of millennials only, but new research conducted by SSI and Tillster shows that restaurants could be missing out on a huge opportunity if they focus only on younger guests. The research found that guests of all ages want to order through kiosks. Even in the 65-plus age group, the survey found that over 30 percent of customers would visit a restaurant more if kiosks were offered. In the 44-64 age group, nearly 50 percent would stop by more often.
No one likes long lines
It's no surprise that long lines drive customers away. But restaurant brands might be alarmed to learn that a line of just five people is enough to push 57 percent of customers out the door and over to a competitor. The research also found that by the time the line reaches 10 people, 91 percent of customers will leave.
It's not just millennials who are put off by long lines, so why would they be the only ones who prefer better ordering technologies? For restaurants in the fast casual and quick service categories, lunch and dinnertime rushes can be brutally busy. Kiosks expedite the ordering process, leading to shorter lines and happier customers. Even if line lengths for a cashier and a kiosk were equal, a third of customers would still prefer to use the kiosk. Tech is already ubiquitous
Still, worries about kiosk usability are common. But with partners who have tested and validated user experiences, positive outcomes can be readily achieved. Plenty of older adults aren't afraid to try new technologies; in fact, they've already integrated them as part of their everyday lives. People are accustomed to having smartphones in their hands, and they're used to the convenience of online shopping. So, as long as the design is right, almost anyone who feels comfortable navigating a phone's home screen can use a kiosk with relative ease.
In fact, the research found that 60 percent of all customers would visit more often if kiosks were offered. Technology isn't keeping older customers out of your restaurant – it's luring them in.