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This may be a smartphone age, but our lives are becoming a series of kiosk stops, from ATMs and supermarket checkouts to airlines and gas stations. And now, there’s the fast-food kiosk. Kiosks have one main purpose: to save time.
Panera claims 60 percent of lunchtime transactions are completed on touch-screen kiosks at one bustling, Boston-area store near Fenway Park. That same 60 percent is what some of the savviest fast-food restaurants do daily out of their drive-thru windows.
“Kiosks turn a restaurant into a vending machine,” says Christopher Muller, professor of hospitality at Boston University.
Panera installed kiosks at that one location near Fenway Park back in 2012. Today, it has them in roughly 400 restaurants as part of its “Panera 2.0” platform, with plans to have them in virtually all of its 2,000 or so stores within a few years, says Blaine Hurst, executive vice president and chief transformation and growth officer at Panera.
“We’re seeing phenomenal results,” Hurst says. That’s because kiosk-using customers are generally happy customers, he says. They typically get their orders faster and, by a healthy margin, they come back to the restaurant more often, he says. That might explain Panera’s savvy name for its contraptions: Fast Lane Kiosks.
- Self-order customers are generally happy customers. They get their orders faster and they return more often.
- The biggest user of kiosks at Panera? Millennials.
- Aren’t kiosks really about cutting back on labor costs? “How much labor can we remove from the service package until customers finally decide that self service means no service?”
- Paneras says this is not at all the case .Fact is Panera locations that have kiosks typically spend more on labor costs than those without them.
- Biggest impediment to rollout? Ensuring that the kitchens can handle the higher bandwidth of orders on burst basis. Paneras has had to upgrade those kitchens.
Editors Note: If you are wondering who designed, engineered and manufactured the tablets used by Paneras, we can say for sure that they look to be from our member Lilitab. Please visit their page and say hello.
Read full article on QSR Magazine.