At the National Retail Federation's Annual Convention & EXPO on Monday, Microsoft Corp. and CKE Restaurants Inc. (parent company of Hardee's and Carl's Jr.) showcased a self-order kiosk solution running on Windows 8 devices that enables Hardee's customers to customize and place their own orders. The Dell Optiplex 3030 All-in-One devices are currently deployed as a pilot test in 30 restaurants, including a newly redesigned kiosk-featured restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee. As part of its pilot, Hardee's will continue to roll out kiosks to additional restaurants in the next few months.
"Hardee's is changing the way it interacts with its customers, making the ordering process more streamlined, personal and fast," says Tracy Issel, general manager of Worldwide Retail, Consumer Goods, Hospitality and Travel at Microsoft. "This is just one example of how Microsoft is giving retailers new ways to reinvent the customer experience."
"Our target market of young, hungry millennials, as well as younger and older customers, love the new ordering kiosks," says Tom Lindblom, senior vice president and chief technology officer at CKE Restaurants. "The self-ordering kiosk gives the customer a fun, interactive and user-friendly way to control their order. At CKE, we understand that customer expectations are changing quickly, and our relationship with Microsoft allows us to enhance the restaurant experience and better serve our customers' needs and expectations."
The kiosks offers point-of-service (POS) purchasing. Customers can review menu selections, customize and place orders, and pay for purchases. The device can double as an employee POS when needed. The kiosks also relays orders directly to the kitchen, allowing customers to get their food more quickly and accurately. Employees can simply update the kiosk menu to include seasonal offerings or price adjustments, or to add language capabilities to suit the store's customer base. Lastly, the kiosk aids in reporting and personnel management. Managers can run various sales and shift reports and employees can use the kiosks to clock in and out for shifts and breaks.
The Intel-powered Dell 3030 kiosks with Windows 8 provide a touch-friendly, familiar experience for customers and employees. Restaurants where Hardee's has deployed the kiosks have seen a dramatic reduction in wait times and an increase in per-ticket totals, all while their customers are creating the perfect burger or biscuit, made just how they like it. For example, guests can add or eliminate ingredients such as holding the mayo on the Mile High Bacon Thickburger or adding extra bacon to the Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit. According to CKE, one out of every three customers at the Nashville, Tennessee, location are using the kiosks, and the kiosks have generated increased sales and more efficient work streams throughout store operations. It also allows the shift workers to focus more time on customer service.
The Hardee's pilot project is one of several Microsoft retail customer deployments being shown at the NRF Big Show in New York. Microsoft is working with retailers, including GameStop and TGI Friday's Inc., to showcase seamless and personalized experiences being delivered in real time through the cloud and on smart devices.