Sprinkles has long been known for innovation. Hailed as the world’s first cupcake bakery—which opened in Los Angeles in 2005—the company was also the first brand to use signature cupcake ATMs to dispense its product sans a visit to the ordering counter.
When Daniel Legh-Page joined the Sprinkles team as vice president of technology in 2018, a goal was to steadily upgrade the tech stack, starting with third-party delivery integration and a refresh to the guest-facing website.
“Pre-COVID, I wasn’t looking at a lot of self-service inside our stores,” Legh-Page says. “We have cupcake ATM machines that always served as our self-service option, so at the time I didn’t see the need to implement additional self-service options.”
Like most restaurants, Sprinkles shifted to phone and online ordering and curbside pickup when COVID struck. When restaurants did begin to reopen, the brand required that customers wear masks and social distance inside stores. At the same time, an industry-wide labor shortage made Legh-Page and the C-suite team rethink their stance on self-service.
“Kiosks made a ton of sense as we started opening back up,” he says. “It’s a clean, integrated, and safe way for walk-in guests to make purchases.”
The Sprinkles team met with digital ordering technology company Bite, whose sleek, user-friendly kiosk system matched the company’s vision and aesthetic. Bite Kiosk offers payment integration, providing a safe, frictionless way for walk-in guests to make purchases, which are picked up a few minutes later at a dedicated counter.
“Our biggest challenge was that we ran online ordering through Olo, so we needed a solution that worked with that,” says Legh-Page. “Bite already had an integration with Olo, so from an interaction standpoint it was very easy to sync everything. We went into tests quickly and have been expanding the pilot ever since.”
Bite Kiosk has additional benefits, including driving higher average orders and guest satisfaction—the average kiosk order is 20 percent higher than typical POS sales with a cashier. That’s because the kiosk allows customers to see vivid, colorful images of Sprinkles’ classic favorites alongside seasonal flavors, new items, and limited-time promotions. Bite Kiosk also helps lower labor costs, since operators need fewer cashiers to process transactions. Instead, employees can focus on what truly sets a restaurant apart in the current environment: customer service. Kiosks also help maximize throughput during busy times by offering multiple ordering stations that transmit directly to the kitchen display system.
“It’s becoming a new model for walk-in traffic,” says Legh-Page. “Instead of cashiers at a point-of-sale station, we have a cupcake concierge that can make orders and help guests on the kiosks if they need it. It’s more of a hybrid role instead of a cashier behind a register.”
Ninety percent of Sprinkles stores now operate using Bite Kiosk, and Legh-Page says the company is working its way through remodels of the remaining stores, which should take another year. Because of their success, kiosks will be permanently attached to countertops—part of a larger brand remodel that relies heavily on consistent, colorful imagery, digital signage and online ordering capabilities.
“If you’d have told me two years ago we would have self-service kiosks in all our bakeries, I would have said ‘no way’—but times have changed,” Legh-Page says. “They’ve allowed us to act quickly in a competitive market and entirely shift our service and staffing model in the front of house.”
To learn more about how self-service ordering can help your brand, visit the Bite Kiosk website.
By Davina van Buren