Technology & Equipment

How kiosks are shaping the modern foodservice and retail landscapes

Personalization and contactless service increase appeal
Photograph courtesy of Advantech

Kiosks must immediately achieve two things to be considered successful: They must attract users and serve a purpose for those users.

These solutions are now integrated into everyday life, becoming a common means for how people interact with companies and how they conduct business. Nevertheless, kiosk deployers focus considerable attention on users and their experience because without it, the return on investments in such technology would be minimal. Kiosks are versatile solutions. New generations of all-in-one panel PCs in particular—such as those that are sleek, feature touchscreens and are scalable—pose opportunities to enhance their appeal and strengthen their value to consumers and deployers.

Combat employee shortages

The hospitality industry has been struggling with labor shortages for nearly two years. Similar-paying jobs with better hours are heightening competition among businesses for an already-small pool of talent. Some proactive companies are using technology to close the staffing gap, employing kiosks to manage several tasks that a live person otherwise would have handled.

Besides self-checkout, businesses can utilize this technology to promote specials or new products to help drive additional sales. Service-based businesses are desperate for a long-term, permanent solution to futureproof their operations against adverse events. Kiosks are increasingly being brought on board across the country, not to replace employees, but to assist them, coming at a fixed cost.

Offer more personalized services

Enhancements now include a broader variety of peripherals designed to broaden kiosk functionality. Biometric identification, such as fingerprint recognition, can be used at customer-facing kiosks for revenue-based applications, allowing users to be identified more quickly and log in faster to a customized experience for quick ordering and more. Some restaurants, for example, use the capability to allow customers to view their order history and save other modifications. Additionally, the solution determines whether a customer is eligible for special deals and presents those customer-retaining offers during their onscreen experience.

The ability of kiosks equipped with RFID technology enables them to communicate with products through radio signals to speed up the transaction process and provides a secure means for businesses to better track inventory. Kiosks can also help encourage loyalty programs, positioned along aisles in a store to give customers a specialized shopping experience. When a customer walks by a kiosk, the system detects their loyalty card and quickly peeks at the person’s shopping habits and history, touting discounts on items they use or recommending products that might interest them. Those units also could place digital coupons on their card, redeemable at checkout. Printers create a complete self-service solution, providing receipts and documentation for transactions and purchases.

Help restaurants become fully cashless

Paying for meals at a kiosk without interacting with a cashier used to be something of a novelty. Now, it’s the preferred payment approach.

While payment integration hardware that includes card readers and cash dispensers remains in place, many units have been outfitted additionally with contactless technologies. Contactless payment enables customers to simply tap their credit or debit card against a reader or use a digital wallet contained in their smartphone to complete transactions. Technology such as kiosks is a cornerstone of the new business approach, especially since the COVID-19 outbreak. Users never have to interact directly with a cashier. That provides the extra protection they desire.

Manage systems remotely

Devices should be easily configured and managed remotely via a centralized platform. The inclusion of over-the-air updates and batch control functions improves management efficiency and optimizes IoT operations.

Reports produced by the programming can show activity on each machine, providing data and information for internal and external use. The software also allows operators to touch a unit wirelessly from their base to check system status, install patches for security protections, download technology upgrades and shut down and reboot devices.

Companies can remotely monitor the health of their units at multiple locations with intuitive cloud-based solution management that requires only basic training. Remote functionality keeps machines operating smoothly, saving time, effort and money. Kiosks are enabling businesses to be more effective and efficient, while enabling new services and customer retention.

This post is sponsored by Advantech