Foodservice has come a long way since the introduction of the hot dog roller grill to become a mainstay of the convenience store experience. What started out as a transition to prepared foods and away from small deli counters has become the highest profit margin category for retailers—beating out traditional products like tobacco and alcohol. Capitalizing on this evolving trend is necessary for convenience stores to stay competitive.
Food service kiosks allow you to better manage your labor resources by assigning employees to more value-added activities like custom food preparation rather than just taking orders. This could let you reduce the overall number of staff you need to run your stores during peak rush hours, or reallocate employees to the food prep station. Either way you will be more efficient.
By letting consumers make their menu selections directly on the interactive user interface, there is almost no chance for human error since the kiosk layout is designed to let the consumer review their order and make changes before finalizing it. Compare that to verbally placing a food order- I think we’ve all experienced how error prone that process can be, especially when requesting special orders, making last minute changes, and dealing with language barriers. Overall, kiosk orders are much faster and more accurate.
One of the most profitable benefits of kiosks is the opportunity they provide for ‘upselling’ your customers. There seems to be something about consumer psychology that prevents people from ordering certain food service items when they actually have to say the words out loud, but they will order the same items without hesitation if they can self-select the items in relative privacy from a kiosk. It’s remarkable. Sometimes this is because it is perceived as a hassle to ask for a special order. The customer sees how busy the store is and doesn’t want to be the reason for slowing down the line even further. Other times the reason is related to the social stigma of ordering certain items such as super-size drinks, extra cheese, or double meat; everyone wants them but at the same time they know they are better off without them. In both of these examples, kiosks give customers a chance to order what they really want and get the best meal experience possible from your stores. In addition, the kiosk allows you to charge extra for specific condiments like bacon or cheese on a sandwich, or extra pepperoni or extra sauce on a pizza. All these upsell opportunities can be presented to the customer at the appropriate time during the transaction without having to rely on a cashier to remember to make the suggestion during a busy rush hour.
Different retail environments call for additional solutions. Some retailers prefer to put kiosks on the forecourt island which would then drive customers inside to pick up their orders. Pinnacle has hardware partners who can provide a hardware platform that is suitable for the outdoor weather elements.
Self-serve and quick-serve concepts, as well as the extenuation of mobile, continue to emerge and Pinnacle will continue to adapt its product lines to accommodate them. We constantly look to the general retail, grocery and restaurant industries to give us insight into which technologies and trends are likely to be next in convenience retail.