At the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Innovation Summit, which takes place November 7-8 in Dallas, Eric Bengston of Deloitte Digital will speak about working with a major restaurant brand to install self-ordering digital kiosks in all of its units by year-end.
Bengston, a design and e-commerce expert who focuses on the user experience, believes that these kiosks are vital to improving the in-store experience and adapting to the way customers interact with technology. As the National Restaurant Association puts it, there is a shift from “hospitality vs. technology” to “hospitality enhanced by technology.”
In recent years, major chains such as Dunkin’, McDonald’s, and Subway have been jumping on this technology to making the in-store experience more convenient. Convenience has become a top priority in today’s foodservice environment, especially as brands compete to reach Gen Z and Millennials.
Younger consumers are quicker to embrace technology in foodservice because they value quickness and convenience. In a study conducted earlier this year from Culinary Visions Panel, 48% of those between ages 18-34 said they prefer using kiosks or touch screens to order because it’s quicker compared to 32% of those between the ages of 35-54 and only 12% of those ages 55 and older.
“Our studies show younger adults, in particular, enjoy the social aspects of dining out,” says Sharon Olson, executive director of Culinary Visions Panel. “Today’s younger consumers grew up with technology and their facility with it allows them to use technology to make their lives more convenient.”
Bengston gives some advice for foodservice establishments that integrate kiosks into their operations, saying that many restaurants are shifting employees into customer service positions to help guide the kiosk transactions: “It’s a labor shift rather than a labor reduction. Restaurants with kiosks are spending more time with customers and seeing those additional opportunities to engage.”