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Self Ordering Kiosks – reasons to have it in your restaurant

Digital self-service kiosks provide restaurant owners with new and more sophisticated ways to operate their restaurants. But what advantages the device brings to the business?

According to the Factmr data the Interactive Kiosk Market size is estimated to be valued at US$ 27.4 Bn in 2022 and reach US$ 45.8 Bn by 2032. While the main drivers of the growth come from the banking and retail sector, the strong share is also built by restaurants and their need to build a digital ordering channel.  

What is a kiosk?

Ordering Kiosk for Restaurant
Ordering Stack Self-service kiosk

Digital ordering kiosk is far from being a novelty, with the first similar devices being designed in 1977 by a student of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. The first models consisted of a computer terminal with a touchscreen – a novelty at that time. The first successful commercial implementation was done by Florsheim Shoe Co. in 1985. The company provided the customers with images and descriptions of shoes that were unavailable at the time. 

At the basic level, the digital kiosk has changed little since its invention. The device is built of a standalone computer with a touchscreen, that enables the user to perform certain actions – browsing the menu, placing an order, and sometimes payment. Modern kiosks usually are built sturdily and durably, with an elegant design and a large touchscreen. 

Devices built to be used in restaurants can be further reinforced by adding protections against spilling drinks or removing some more resistant stains. More about the kiosk and the way the device is built can be found in our complete guide on what is a digital kiosk

Why the restaurant needs a digital ordering kiosk? 

Retail companies were among the earliest adopters of digital kiosks. But restaurants also find multiple reasons to have this device in-store, and simply selling the food is only the tip of an iceberg. 

Manage queues 

The digital kiosk is ever-vigilant and ready to provide the customers with the ability to process their orders. The device has limitless patience and enables the customer to browse through the menu for as long as one wishes. On the other hand though, if the customer wishes only to place the order one knows and go further, the kiosk can process it in a matter of seconds. 

Placing the digital kiosk in the restaurant can help to manage the queues more efficiently. According to ICMI research queue is one of the first aspects people consider when looking at the shop or restaurant – 73% of people are eager to abandon their purchase if they have to queue for more than five minutes. Also, research shows that if the restaurant eliminates waiting for the order, the revenue spikes up by 15% – a number worth fighting for. 

Deliver better customer experience 

Reducing the queues comes as a great boost for the customer experience – and this pays off in the age of social media. According to the Harvard Business School improving the Yelp reviews by 1 star (out of five possible) drives the revenue increase by 5-9 percent. 

But waiting in a queue is only a part of the overall customer experience delivered by the restaurant. Yet the Deloitte study shows other interesting aspects of building a great customer experience in the restaurant: 

  • 52% of top-rated restaurants consider empowering the customers as one of the key elements of building an outstanding purchase experience. This comes as a seamless delivery of information and factors that support the customer in making an informed decision. 
  • 46% think that engaging the customer by building a friendly and hospitable environment is the key to building a great customer experience.
  • 45% of restaurants think that the great customer experience is about listening to the needs of customers and understanding their situation
  • 43% consider surprising customers and providing them with unexpected moments of joy a key driver of the experience
  • 37% of restaurants say that building great experiences is about remembering a customer’s preferences and needs

All of the points shown above are available with the sophisticated self-service kiosk. The device provides the information clearly and legibly, supported by images and videos. The customer can be invited to participate in the loyalty program and by that, both surprised with discounts and remembered in the future. 

Also, the machine can store limitless information about the offer, thus browsing and filtering the menu in search for the meals with or without particular ingredients or allergens is not a problem for the machine. A human waiter or cashier is far less likely to remember all the menu and ingredients used. 

Harvest data

Data about customers is the modern rocket fuel for business. Yet the restaurant business is traditionally hard to measure and quantify, with customers interacting in an offline manner. The staff can share the observations and remarks with the managers, but overall having a clear and effective data harvesting policy can be challenging. 

The digital kiosk is a device that collects all the data points from the purchase and helps the company to correlate the data using analytics and data science techniques. The Wall Street Journal shows the story of TGI Fridays, where the AI-supported analysis resulted in using the extremely narrowed push notifications that stick to the user’s daily habits. 

For example, the app encouraged a particular client, a dad coming back from his job to pick up a ready dinner for his family on the go. For Fridays using this approach resulted in doubling the business during 12 months. 

While a standalone kiosk is hardly capable of such wonders, it can be used as a part of a whole system supporting particular customers. When paired with the loyalty program, the device can pair the behavior with the purchase and deliver interesting insights on aspects like: 

  • How much time a single order is processed?
  • Is there any bottleneck in the purchase process?
  • Is there any particular dish or offer that confuses the buyer?
  • Is there any offer that works best? Is it context-related in any way?

Having this information is the first step toward engineering the menu and building a more seamless purchase process based on first-hand insight. 

Use the up and cross-selling techniques

Despite being placed in the restaurant, the digital kiosk is more like an e-commerce device, coming with all the optimization and UX experiences gathered with online selling. This comes as a tool to boost the revenue in a more organized and sophisticated way than the iconic “would you like fries with that” question. 

According to data gathered by Sumo upselling increases revenue by up 10-30% on average. Also, the upselling and cross-selling is it is up to 68% more affordable for the company than the constant struggle to attract new customers. 

The self-service kiosk comes with multiple cross and up-selling tools unavailable for the non-digital restaurant. This includes bundling the purchase, automatic suggestions based on both the purchasing habits and the complementary products, and time-limited offers among others. 

Have a better workforce allocation

Last but not least, the self-service kiosk is a device that fully digitizes one of the company’s processes. It is an end-to-end purchase machine

This liberates a part of staff to engage in other activities like preparing meals or cleaning the restaurant. And this comes as a great relief for the restaurant owner. 

According to the Business Insider data up to 7 out of 10 restaurant owners cannot find the workers to respond to the customer demands. Also, the report states that the young employees are not willing to work for the restaurants as they used to in the past, mostly due to the risk of abuse and low payment and tips. 

Having a kiosk is a way to transfer one of the crucial business processes into the digital area and have it operated by machines. While the machine is unable to fully replace the human worker, the pressure to find employees will get lower and customers will be better served. 

Ordering Stack kiosk for KFC


The self-service kiosk is a modern reply to modern challenges faced by restaurants all around the world. The device provides customers with a better experience, facilitates the processes in times of staff shortage, and boosts revenue by shortening queues and delivering cross- and upselling options. 

If you wish to talk more about the ways a digital kiosk can boost your restaurant’s operations, don’t hesitate to contact us now!