Things are changing in the world of fast food – and fast! Technology is making a big difference to the ordering experience, and while it’s been somewhat slow to catch on, the changes we’re seeing right now are part of a larger shift in society to greater automation. Fast food has long been seen as one of the most likely industries to see greater levels of automation, and it’s now happening with the introduction of touch-screen kiosks in restaurants.
This brings with it many benefits but also a few challenges, not least the question of the extent to which machines will take over our jobs. But as McDonald’s and other restaurants have found, it’s not a simple case of machines taking over from humans.
McDonald’s setting the trend for kiosks in restaurants
In November 2016, McDonald’s introduced touch screen ordering to all its US-based restaurants, and the technology has since arrived in the UK.
The primary reason for the restaurant chain doing this was one big problem it was experiencing: slower service.
Over the years, McDonald’s has diversified its menu and added more items. The problem with this was that it was harder to get items out fast enough to meet the expectations of its customers.
They decided that self-service kiosks in restaurants could help with this, and so far it looks like it’s worked. Not only is it faster for customers to order their food on the screens (which are very visual-based), but the restaurants can also introduce more screens to take more orders and therefore reduce queues.
What happens to the employees?
The big question that arises is: what happens to all the staff? It might seem that machines are replacing humans, but McDonald’s has said it won’t lead to job losses.
Why? Because roles will change instead. If there are fewer staff needed to manage the tills, they’ll be freed up to take on other roles. For example, more restaurants are now delivering food to the customers at their tables, and employees are being used as greeters to welcome customers when they arrive.
In addition, an increase in sales could even lead to more opportunities to hire. Restaurants will need to hire more graphic designers and software engineers to produce content, so the kiosks could end up creating jobs.
Faster fast food Is just one of the benefits
Faster ordering and less queueing are just a couple of the benefits kiosks introduce to restaurants.
Another of the major benefits has been the improvement in upsells. Sometimes cashiers might be uncomfortable with the idea of upselling, or they might simply forget, whereas kiosks don’t.
There are also suggestions that customers might be more comfortable ordering more food because they don’t feel judged on their choices.
And then there’s the whole issue of customised suggestions. Kiosks are smart enough to recommend healthier upsells for people who order a salad, for example, thus encouraging more sales.
Kiosks in restaurants are also able to highlight certain items on their menus at different times of the day, and they make changing menus and pricing easy, thus saving on costs.
Self-service kiosks in restaurants are here to stay
As manufacturers of the very latest retail kiosks, we know all about the benefits they can bring to restaurants and other retail settings. It looks like kiosks in restaurants are very much here to stay, and that’s good news for everyone.