Kiosk Technology, Hospitality, Food Services Management: 3 Common Use Cases
Kiosk technology to support interactive self-service is a common fixture in many industries and contexts. This is true when you go to the airport to get boarding passes and luggage tags. It’s true at more and more supermarkets, where consumers can buy their groceries and other items without the assistance of a cashier.
It’s true in many cases in the hospitality and food services industries, too. More and more, hotel chains, multi-unit restaurants, and food services organizations that manage food courts, corporate cafeterias, and other concepts are turning to kiosks. This is the case for a number of strategic reasons. But what are some of the most common use cases for kiosks in hospitality and food services? Most importantly, how do they serve the needs of guests and help to shape the guest experience to create sustainable competitive traction for companies, too?
Here are a few use cases to consider.
1. “Order at the kiosk, pay up front”
Here’s the scenario. The guest is at a cafeteria in a hospital, a college or university, or at their office. They collect their items and input them into the kiosk interface. A ticket is then printed out for them to bring to the cashier at the point-of-sale terminal. Before they approach the staff member at the point of sale terminal with that ticket, they might then decide to get an extra item for a friend who’s waiting at the table. They input that item into the kiosk interface. Another ticket is then created for them to bring to the cashier.
Once they’re done and they present their tickets for all the items they’re purchasing and the cashier closes their check at the POS terminal. This process empowers the guest to enter their purchases at their leisure without holding up the line to the terminal. It increases throughput at the terminal and makes for a more efficient means for POS operators to manage the lines with fewer bottlenecks. It also has implications for order sizes. When a guest doesn’t feel rushed by a line behind them, they have time to consider what they want in their own time and place additional orders as they occur to them. Often, this means more items and increased revenue, too.
2. “Grab and Go”
The guest is at a hotel location. It’s late at night and staff on site are minimal and dedicated to only the most vital stations; the front desk, the concierge, back office. The hotel pantry and gift shops where guests pick up toiletries and snacks aren’t one of those at this time of night. That’s where the kiosk helps to meet guest needs, while taking the pressure off staff members, too.
The guest chooses their items. They scan them and complete their purchases. Debit, credit, and mobile options are available. But so is a room look-up function integrated with HMS to allow guests to charge their purchases to their rooms, adding to the total bill that’s presented to them at the end of their stay. Then, they take their items; grab and go. This easy, self-directed process empowers them to make their purchases at whatever time of day or night suits them, and whether or not a staff member is available to help them. Among other things, that’s the kind of thing that encourages repeat stays.
3. “Order and pay at kiosk, pick up from the kitchen/staff”
This is a common scenario in multi-unit quick-service restaurants (QSRs). The guest uses the kiosk to manage the entire ordering process from end to end. They choose their items. They can even add modifiers like extra pickles or no mayo, for instance. Once they’ve completed their orders, they can pay via the kiosk, sending that order directly to the kitchen. Guests can then pick up that completed order at the counter.
This kiosk use case allows staff at the QSR to focus on completing orders as they come in, not to be responsible for the accuracy of the content of those orders. And like the example of the grab and go above, it’s very importantly about reducing friction and creating a sense of fluidity and freedom for the guest. That means fewer restrictions on what’s added to an order. It also means a greater confidence in making multiple orders during the span of a single guest visit. The positive effects that has on incoming revenue can be significant.
Creating connections between guests and the brand
Guest-facing technology like kiosks needs to serve consumer preferences to make the buying process more intuitive and more expedient. It should add to a whole experience that’s positively connected to the brand in the mind of the guest.
This is a common thread to be found in the above use cases for kiosks in hospitality and food services contexts; easy, frictionless, and stress-free ordering means increasing the chances for repeat visits, brand loyalty, and higher revenues. The business strategy around kiosks becomes clear in the light of that.