You pump your own gas. You check yourself in for your flight. And you check yourself out of the grocery store. And now, coming to a Wendy’s near you, are self-service ordering kiosks. Earlier this week fast food burger chain Wendy’s announced their plan to install ordering kiosks in over 16% of their restaurants by the end of 2017. That’s over 1,000 self-service kiosks.
And it isn’t just Wendy’s. Several fast food concepts, including McDonald’s and Jack in the Box, have tested ordering kiosks. Fast casual Applebee’s placed ordering tables on every table across American several years ago – Chili’s, Outback Express and others have followed suit. So too have fine dining and airport restaurants that attract a high end crowd. And countless restaurants use tablets to serve as their wine menu.
So what does Wendy’s adding kiosks in over 1,000 restaurants have to do with the productivity of your office?
Success Leaves Clues
Wendy’s didn’t become one of the most successful fast food chains by accident. And their decision to install kiosks in so many restaurants isn’t some blind dart throw or wild attempt at innovation. They saw a way to better serve customers while redeploying labor to accomplish other important tasks.
According to David Trimm, Wendy’s chief information officer, there are two primary benefits of installing kiosks.
- They give younger customers an ordering experience they prefer.
- The increase employee productivity by un-tether workers from the counter and frees them up for other important tasks.
A Better Experience
Wendy’s shift to kiosks targets younger customers, customers who have grown up with automation, customers who are not intimidated by technology. The benefits of kiosks, however, are not limited to younger customers. Their simplicity makes them easy to use, regardless of age or technological capabilities.
How can this be applied to your workspace? Let’s say you run a co-working space, here are your target client’s demographics as measured by Deskmag’s global co-working survey. The study reports the following:
- Most coworkers are in their mid-twenties to late thirties, with an average age of 34.
- Slightly more than half of all coworkers are freelancers (54%).
- The overwhelming majority of coworkers work in the field of creative industries and new media. Many are web developers or programmers.
Who visits your office? Are they young? Are the familiar with technology? Are they seeking new experiences? If any of these are true, they probably prefer automation and self-help tools than the traditional approach.
More Efficient Employees
Wendy’s move to kiosk installation stems directly from the mandate to increase wages. Bob Wright, Wendy’s chief operating officer, during his presentation to investors and analysts, cited a 5% wage increase in 2016 coupled with a predicted 4% increase in 2017 as a primary incentive for installing kiosks. With employees’ wages growing, it is more important than ever to use labor wisely.
Kiosks make employees and individual restaurants more efficient. A more efficient restaurant reduces lines at peak hours and reduces the number of order errors. In addition, much of the labor needed to take orders could be shifted to other important areas, such as increasing food quality and maintaining restaurant appearance.
Any business owner realizes that a more efficient work force means a more profitable business. Imagine a more efficient office with employees no longer tethered to the receptionist’s desk. These valuable employees could then be used for other important tasks, such as improving customer experience and maintaining office appearance.
A more efficient office leads to greater productivity and profit. And those are tied to happier employees.
Be Ahead of the Curve
Darren Tristano, vice president with Technomic, a food-service research and consulting firm states, “Kiosks are where the industry is headed, but Wendy’s is ahead of the curve.”
The food-service industry isn’t the only one headed toward kiosk use and automation. So the question becomes will your office be ahead of the curve, improving customer experience and increasing office efficiency?
Imagine your office with an iPad app that greets visitors at your office. Visitors enter their name, choose the purpose of their visit, and who they are there to see. Wouldn’t this free your multi-tasking super-hero receptionist to handle other, more important tasks more efficiently? More importantly, can you afford to be left behind this trend?
Wendy’s made the decision to add 1,000 kiosks after careful research. Their customers and their franchisees want these systems. And they expect a massive return on investment. Should your business stay ahead of the curve and learn from Wendy’s decision?