Kiosk Meaning – Define A Kiosk

By | July 4, 2016

Kiosk Meaning

What is the word kiosk mean?  The kiosk originally began as the town square notice board for the community to post notices. Think Turkey. The usual reference in Wikipedia will call out Persia as the originating language for the word.  Another Wikipedia page more relevant is the Interactive Kiosk page.

Kiosk Meaning

Outdoor view driving up on Charging Station or EV Kiosk

In the modern world the word kiosk means an electronic station where customers or employee can get services

Craig Keefner of LinkedIn says,”Kiosk as a word has the electronic modern meaning but it also has the RMU connotation. And some will point to the origin in Turkey.   Whatever it means, the usual CAGR on market growth is usually 15% at minimum.”

What does the word Kiosk mean?

  • Often they come with touchscreens but not always  (it could be facial payment kiosk in hospitality gift shop for example)
  • Used normally by customers (but also employees generally in an HR kiosk mode)
  • It could be for bike rental,  it could be a 95″ interactive for education

Kiosk Examples

Here are some of the “kiosk meaning” for the modern-day kiosk. Kiosks today are very much different than those from years ago with photo kiosks from Kodak and ATM machines. Self-check-in from the major airlines (we used to work for Northwest Airlines ourselves and piloted check-in in the Ford Commissary in Detroit.

kiosk self-order mcdonalds

mcdonalds kiosk

They are self-service kiosks, usually electronic, and can be found in all walks of life.  The form factor ranges from a mobile device to a tablet to a larger enclosures (usually metal but also plastic and wood). They are transactional with devices and they are informational only.

  • In malls, events, tradeshows and other locations you have the RMU, which is a Remote Merchandising Unit.  Example manufacturer could be Ikoniq (main business being RMUs).
  • Airline Check-In Kiosks
  • ATM Machines
  • Electronic kiosks
  • Internet Cafes
  • POS Terminals
  • Food Order Kiosk
  • Gaming Kiosks
  • Parking kiosks
  • Outdoor kiosks
  • Hoteling
  • Information Kiosks terminals
  • Interactive Digital Signage
  • Immigration and Security Kiosks
  • Gift card kiosks
  • Retail kiosk
  • Gift Registry kiosk
  • Tablet kiosk
  • Vending
  • Pharmacy kiosk
  • Lockers
  • Charging kiosks
  • Coin Kiosks
  • Music, Movie and Media download kiosks
  • DVD kiosks
  • Hospitality
  • Healthcare
  • Telemedicine and Telehealth
  • Marijuana & Cannabis
  • Photo Kiosk
  • Prison kiosk
  • Social kiosks
  • Kiosk Software
  • Survey Kiosks
  • Wayfinding kiosk
  • Wine Kiosks

Kiosk Definition From Wikipedia

kiosk ticketing for Amtrak

Amtrak Ticket Kiosk – click for full size image

Kiosk Meaning – An interactive kiosk is a computer terminal featuring specialized hardware and software that provides access to information and applications for communication, commerce, entertainment, or education.

Early interactive kiosks sometimes resembled telephone booths, but have been embraced by retail, food service and hospitality to improve customer service. Interactive kiosks are typically placed in high foot traffic settings such as shops, hotel lobbies or airports.

Integration of technology allows kiosks to perform a wide range of functions, evolving into self-service kiosks. For example, kiosks may enable users to order from a shop’s catalogue when items are not in stock, check out a library book, look up information about products, issue a hotel key card, enter a public utility bill account number in order to perform an online transaction, or collect cash in exchange for merchandise. Customised components such as coin hoppers, bill acceptors, card readers and thermal printers enable kiosks to meet the owner’s specialised needs.

Where are Kiosks Used

It is estimated that over 1,200,000 kiosk terminals exist in the U.S. and Canada alone.

Groups who use kiosks in their business environment include: Delta Airlines, United Airlines, JetBlue Airways, GTAA, Future Shop, The Home Depot, Target Corporation, and Wal-Mart.

2020 Update — we did a quick calculation of just restaurants and restaurant kiosks.
There isn’t a fixed number but if I estimated locations for majors in the U.S.

  • burger = 50,000  (McDonalds 14K)
  • Mexican = 10,000
  • specialty = 5000
  • sandwich = 35000  (subway 27K)
  • casual dining = 5000  (applebees has 1700)
  • beverage/snack = 35000
  • chicken = 15000
  • pizza = 27000
  • family dining = 9000
  • bakery = 4000
  • That’s around 125,000 factoring the majors
  • Figure they account for 70%
  • New total around 170,000
  • Figure McD has 38,000 in the world
    Extrapolated out worldwide approaching 500,000Figure COVID closed 20% of thoseMy guess would be close to 2M order stationsAccelerants would be chains like Chili’s and others with an order kiosk at every table.Streetside restaurants in Lagos are unlikely to utilize kiosks

    Industry Trends

    Just in the Restaurant industry in 2020

    28 mergers and acquisitions in the restaurant industry in 2020


    The $11.3 billion Inspire/Dunkin’ deal was certainly the talk of the finance world. The deal was completed on Dec. 15. and now gives Inspire Brands an entrance into the breakfast segment, taking the Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins brands private.

    Another notable acquisition was the growing brand BurgerFi, which was acquired by OPES Acquisition Corp. and announced it would be begin being traded on the Nasdaq on Dec. 17 under the ticker BFI. The company was renamed BurgerFi International Inc.

    And this year wouldn’t be complete without speaking of third-party delivery companies.

    With demand for delivery spiking after restaurant dining rooms were closed across the country, Grubhub, Uber Eats, and Postmates jockeyed for position with consolidation. Grubhub was acquired by Just Eat Takeaway for $7.3 billion in June, and Uber purchased Postmates for $2.65 billion in July. DoorDash, meanwhile, became a publicly traded company in December.

More information on the definition of a kiosk

Author: Staff Writer

Craig Keefner is the editor for Kiosk Industry (Self Service Kiosk Machine). Opinions and point of view here on kioskindustry is not necessarily the stance of the Kiosk Association or -- With over 40 years in the industry and experience in large and small kiosk solutions, Craig is widely considered to be an expert in the field. Major kiosk projects for him include Verizon Bill Pay kiosk and hundreds of others.

One thought on “Kiosk Meaning – Define A Kiosk

  1. Staff Writer Post author

    Kiosk Meaning and Kiosk Definition — generally unattended electronic terminal for customer to conduct transactions or get information. They may be used for check-in. CLEAR at airports is a good example of check-in kiosk. Typically confused with structures known as RMUs or Remote Merchandising Units. Think about the Verizon booth selling headphones and wireless at the airport.

    And then there are SCOs or Self-Checkout in grocery stores. Those are more of a hybrid POS in typical attended hub-spoke configuration.

    ATMs don’t like being called kiosks but essentially that is what they are despite the protestations. Eventually the term ATM will go away. Maybe replaced with Cash to Card kiosk machines.

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