This is the most important factor to in-store digital ordering success.

It’s no secret that the recipe for a successful quick-service restaurant kiosk involves three ingredients: good hardware, seamless software integration, and the buy-in of team members. But with so many choices regarding each component, many restaurant leaders are wondering which elements to invest in to get the biggest bang for their buck. While restaurants should aim for success on all three fronts, it may be surprising to learn hardware is the most important kiosk asset.

“If a restaurant doesn’t have the right hardware solution, the software becomes less effective,” says Kris Bartel, chief business development officer at Zivelo, a company that has helped numerous restaurants install ordering kiosks. “What we’ve seen in looking at various screen sizes at most of our restaurant locations is that anywhere between 22-inch and 32-inch screens perform best, with a 27” being the sweet spot for freestanding kiosks and 22” for counter top.”

This may come as a surprise to many brands working with countertop tablet-based kiosks.
Though many restaurants start with these small, easily installed devices, Bartel says his team has found many restaurants that use them aren’t satisfied with the sales results they provide.

“They haven’t driven the type of results that restaurant leaders want, so we work with them to help them understand exactly what drives those higher margins and why they are not seeing those results,” Bartel says. “We’ve found a very direct correlation between the screen size and sales.”

Larger kiosk screens directly contribute to higher sales lift, Bartel says. This is because the larger screen gives brands more room to display ads for higher margin items, such as beverage upsizes, profitable LTOs, or desserts. Large-format photos displaying these items are also more enticing to consumers. Additionally, because consumers can see their entire order on one screen without much scrolling, guests have confidence their orders will come out correctly.

“These larger sized screens provide users with a big enough space that they can see all of their menu items in detail without having to do a significant amount of scrolling,” Bartel says. “Consumers can customize their orders and see all the options in one place.”

This makes them more likely to splurge on a sauce upgrade, for example. Another benefit is full immersion in the ordering process. Larger screens block out distractions, such as a person asking diners questions or lines forming behind them. This encourages guests to take their time ordering. With less pressure to give a quick answer, guests may consider trying something new instead of their usual value meal, building additional sales.

This effect can be so great that Zivelo’s customers who have upgraded to larger-format screens have seen average ticket sales lifts of up to 30 percent. Though larger screens are a larger investment, the results make it worth diving into a fully developed kiosk program.

“Some restaurants want to just dip their toes in the water, but our customers see there is a way to do kiosks that’s been proven successful,” Bartel says. “Those smaller screens may seem like an easy way to get started with kiosks, but it’s not going to provide the results they are looking for long term. Then they have to invest more money to upgrade or abandon kiosks altogether, giving competitors an even larger advantage. If you make an investment properly at the beginning, you’ll see the sales results you want. And more importantly, customers will come back for the experience.”

By Peggy Carouthers

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