AI-Powered Self-Service Kiosks Offer Benefits to the Customer and Operator.
Tailored experiences. Targeted loyalty. Tangible data.
In today’s ultra fast-paced digital world, restaurants are being pushed to deliver customer service that meets and exceeds customers’ expectations. To help do just that, some operators are turning to self-service kiosks.
And while many restaurants are aware of the labor-saving power of self-service kiosks and artificial intelligence, they may not be as aware that this technology can also be a sales-boosting tool by providing more personalized service for customers. What’s more, they can help gather relevant consumer that gives operators the information they need to better grow their businesses.
The latter is particularly important to today’s customers, said Larry Fiel, director of marketing for PDQ POS, an all-in-one point-of-sale technology solutions provider located in Warminster, Pa. “Nothing beats great food, of course, but everyone today wants tailored specials with offers and up-sells that are geared to them specifically,” he said.
Personalized service for customers
Artificial intelligence helps to make this personalized service possible, says Fiel. Kiosks can greet returning guests and build profile information for new guests, such as their gender and age, through facial recognition software.
“It’s really about personalized service,” Fiel said, “And the key to making service more personal lies in the power of AI. From individual greetings by name to tailored suggestions and specials based on ordering history, face-based technologies allow restaurants to see their customers in the offline world, much like Amazon and other forward-thinking retailers see their customers in the online world.”
A boost in sales
There are other reasons why customers enjoy the self-service kiosk. For one, diners may feel more comfortable at kiosks, as opposed to a counter with a wait staff employee, where they may feel they are holding up the line as they consider what to order. Kiosks also can help to bridge the language barrier through pictures for non-English-speaking patrons. Fiel said kiosks have resulted in a 30% uptick in orders among PDQ POS customers.
Data benefits for operators
Operators also can benefit immensely from kiosks. From a labor standpoint, kiosks may provide significant savings. “A kiosk, in and of itself, can actually be your employee of the month every month, because you don’t have to pay it a salary or a wage and it never needs time off,” Fiel said. “It’s a perfect employee; it just works. So why not make it the best employee it can be?”
That said, gathering data on customers also has enormous implications for growing a business. “There is a lot of information you can glean from it knowing who your target audience is and who you’re trying to touch, reach,” Fiel said. “Instantly knowing key essentials, such as who is ordering what, provides operators with previously elusive knowledge—data that will help them make more informed decisions regarding the menu, inventory and growth strategy.”
PDQ POS, which is developing AI for kiosks to roll out in the second half of 2020, takes heart in a chain such as Wawa, a large convenience-store retailer on the East Coast that has found success with self-service kiosks. “For us, the success of kiosk ordering at Wawa was a proof point for consumer acceptance. The next logical step was to take this proven concept to a more strategic level—one that benefits both guests and operators.”
AI-powered kiosks hold a lot of potential for restaurants too, which PDQ POS is looking to harness. Fiel noted that the company is working on a number of things to further enhance the customer journey, and to help sell more products and elevate customer service to a new level. “That’s what we do best,” he said. “We smartly harness the power of emerging technology to provide sustainable growth-based solutions. It’s in our DNA.”