Ordering a burger from a human cashier may soon become a thing of the past.
Since the start of this year, McDonald’s has rolled out its ‘Experience of the Future’ technology to nearly 1,000 locations in the United States. McDonald’s plans to bring this kiosk-centric modernization of its restaurants to an additional 1,000 locations every quarter.
CEO Steve Easterbrook stated last week during a quarterly earnings called that the fast-food chain has embarked on ‘an aggressive plan and one of the most significant transformations in our history.’
What’s all the fuss about? McDonald’s has had a formula for success for more than 60 years and operations have not changed all that much in that time. But now, technology is playing a much larger part in that success formula.
The Experience of the Future is a centered around several large kiosks placed towards the front of the restaurant where customers will naturally gravitate towards them and begin using the touchscreen to order.
If customers need to pay with cash, human cashiers are waiting nearby to accept paper and coin money. Otherwise, customers can use a variety of payment options at the machines. If the customer has a question about something, there’s a human employee waiting nearby to help.
Why is Easterbrook seemingly so excited about self-service kiosks? Well, McDonald’s does not break out its revenue by kiosks but all available evidence indicates that customers will spend more when using self-service technology. In fact, one McDonald’s franchisee experimented with self-service technology about 14 years ago and found that customers who used the machines spent about one dollar more per order. That may not sound like a lot but it translated to a 30% increase in the average check size.
Similar increases have been reported elsewhere when self-service technology is introduced. The theater chain Cinemark saw food and drink sales rise thanks to self-service concession stands and the quick-service restaurant chain Chili’s reported a 20 percent increase in dessert sales when it introduced tablet ordering.
Beyond the sales increases, self-service technology offers other benefits:
- Kiosks can service more guests at any given moment because they take up less space than a traditional point-of-sale terminal with a cashier.
- Easier upselling. The machine will never forget to offer fries or extra items with a combination meal.
- Mobile apps can turn any device into a self-service kiosk and allow guests to order at their own pace, even while in their car or truck.
- Improved order accuracy. Because the customer enters the order themselves, the accuracy of the order should improve.
- Improve loyalty programs. Customers can be prompted to use their points and other rewards while entering their order.
It’s inevitable that more and more food service orders will be entered through a machine in the coming years. The human cashier certainly will not go away but their role is likely to change due to the exciting changes coming from self-service technology.
Would you like a demonstration of kiosks for your restaurant? Contact us today to get one scheduled.