Why should you optimize your kiosk menus? Because kiosk menu communications are becoming a critical driver of the business. Successful kiosk menu optimization programs generate significant returns on investment. Optimizing your kiosk menu can boost customer satisfaction and loyalty, increase ticket, and grow the number of transactions. We routinely see increases in overall sales. This translates into increased profitability. In fact, kiosk menu optimization has one of the highest ROI’s of any option available to restaurants and foodservice brands.

The Shortcomings of Today’s Kiosk Menu Design

Kiosk menu design is in its infancy, and to date the focus has been primarily on optimizing the user interface and customer experience. While important, user interface is only one piece of the equation for effective kiosk menu design. The other piece is a well-thought-out menu strategy that drives the kiosk menu communications and design, which in turn drives food and beverage sales. Too often, kiosk menu design is arbitrary rather than based on a sound menu strategy and relevant consumer analytics.

A Trio of Analytics: Consumer Research, Financial Data, and Communication Design

To realize significant results, kiosk menu optimization involves combining three different skill sets that collectively result in meaningful advancements in menu communications. This approach helps restaurant and foodservice brands be smarter as they optimize their kiosk menu layout, design, content, and pricing structure in a way that promotes profitability while encouraging repeat customers. The process helps brands understand the thinking and behavior behind customer decisions. It provides a complete picture of customer needs, attitudes, and behaviors, and how these can be turned into desirable menu decisions. In this article, we look at the analytical tools critical to kiosk menu optimization.

Consumer Research Analytics

Consumer research plays an important role when it comes to kiosk menu optimization. Research should be conducted both prior to and following menu optimization. The following approaches are key to our proven process.

Pre-Optimization Research

Pre-optimization research is an effective diagnostic tool to help identify how customers are actually using the kiosk menus, what issues they have, and what specifically needs improvement. Qualitative or quantitative research should be used to probe customers about their kiosk menu use and to explore their likes and dislikes, attitudes, and behaviors.

Post-Optimization Research

This approach is used later to test and validate the effectiveness of new kiosk menu optimization strategies before new kiosk menu communications and design executions are programmed into software.

Online quantitative research is an effective way to reach hundreds of consumers quickly and compare the performance of your optimized kiosk menus to the current. This research is used to evaluate purchase intent, ease, and speed of navigation, as well as gather data on consumer attitudes and preferences. It’s important to note that this strategy validation research can be conducted using color renderings of the kiosk menus. This allows for quickly honing in on the best strategies before the creation of final kiosk menu designs and before incurring the costs associated with software programming and implementation.

Financial Data Analytics

This part of the analytic trio focuses on utilizing sales and margin data to identify ways to optimize the kiosk menu layout , product positioning, pricing elasticity, menu mix optimization and food and beverage attach opportunities.

Menu Sales Analysis

All brands track sales but it is astonishing how few use this data to help them create optimized menu communications. Understanding where your sales are coming from can help you learn how and where to position items on your kiosk menu. Where you place products on your menu should be driven by an analysis of sales and profits. Some of your menu items are better sellers than others, and some contribute more to your bottom line. These should be more prominent on your kiosk menu.

TURF Analysis

This is a mathematical procedure for optimizing a brand’s menu. TURF can help determine the shortest list of menu items needed to satisfy the vast majority of your customers. TURF delivers multiple benefits:

  • Identification of revenue driver items
  • Determination of items that drive customer loyalty
  • Identification of which items can be deleted from your menu without negatively impacting sales

Menu Operations Analysis

Menu item operations data and complexity ratings are additional analytics that help identify the contributing or detracting drivers of your menu’s profitability.

Communication Analysis

This involves an assessment of your current kiosk menu communications to evaluate how effectively your kiosk menu’s language, images, colors, branding, typography, layout, navigation, and interface come together to communicate and support (or don’t support) your brand’s menu strategy. It’s critical that strategy drives the design of the kiosk menu. For example, if the menu strategy states, “we will increase average ticket by increasing beverage attach”,  does the current kiosk menu proactively communicate adding a beverage to a food order?

Research has proven consumers prefer to order by images. The use of higher quality food and beverage images with strong appetite appeal will increase the sales of featured items. How does your kiosk menu stack up in this regard?

You should determine if your current kiosk menu is simple to navigate and order from. How have menu categories been arranged? Are items easy to find? What’s the clarity of key messages? Is the order process intuitive? Learning to think like a customer can help you assess your kiosk menu’s ease of navigation.

The communication analysis identifies what you are currently doing well and want to retain in your optimized kiosk menus. It also identifies problem areas where design and communication techniques fall below best practices.

The analysis results in a “hit-list” of opportunities for improvement to optimize your kiosk menu communications.

The Critical Importance of Having a Menu Strategy

An optimized kiosk menu is only as good as the menu strategy that is driving the effort. It’s important that management takes the time to thoughtfully develop a menu strategy. Establish how the individual menu items should be prioritized. How will each contribute to realizing your brand’s business objectives? It’s the menu strategy that drives your kiosk menu optimization strategy.

Putting It All Together

Using the collective analytical findings of the previous phases, it’s time to develop your optimized kiosk menu communications. This typically follows a series of activities, as illustrated below.

Develop the Kiosk Menu’s Strategic Layout

This is a “blueprint” for how your optimized kiosk menu will be organized. It expresses in schematic form how the content will be organized to achieve the business goals and objectives set forth in your menu strategy. The schematic illustrates the kiosk menu’s presentation sequence, product placement, space allocation, and key customer interfaces.

Visualize the Optimized Kiosk Menu

Here, the strategic layout is developed into color renderings illustrating what your new kiosk menu would look like. These renderings contain just enough detail (visuals, graphics, copy, branding, colors) to conduct online consumer research and quickly assess the validity of your kiosk menu strategy.

Conduct Validation Research

This determines if your new kiosk menu strategy resonates with customers and if it can outperform your current kiosk menu. Using the color renderings, quantitative research is conducted to evaluate the new strategy before developing the kiosk menu design. Use your current kiosk menu as a control. This will help confirm if your new kiosk strategy can achieve the desired business objectives.

Tom Cook is a co-principal of King-Casey.  The firm helps restaurant brands grow their businesses and dramatically improve the customer experience. King-Casey’s solutions are firmly grounded in insights derived from hard data and analytics relative to consumer behavior. King-Casey provides a complete range of menu optimization services including assessment, research, menu reengineering, Menu Strategy, and menu communications. For more information, visit www.king-casey.com, or contact Tom Cook at 203/571-1776, or email tcook@king-casey.com.

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