Jeremy Julian

Why Smaller Restaurants Are Going All-in on Kiosks

November 14, 2018

Technology is an integral part of our daily lives and restaurant owners/operators have definitely taken notice. Because of this, we have seen an interesting trend emerging: smaller restaurants & chains are going all-in on kiosks.


It is surprising, but kind of not at the same time, because having an IT person or department to handle your technology and security is becoming just as crucial as menu development or operations. And this is trend that we do not believe will slow down any time soon. More and more restaurants are designing themselves around tech instead of treating them as digital accessories.


Like in our previous articles about kiosks, even the major players in the space, like McDonalds, are adding more and more digital kiosks. They event found out that customers tend to spend more when using a digital screen.


Let’s take Square Roots Kitchen in Chicago as an example.


The year-old 1,600-square foot startup is outfitted with five, 32-inch wall mounted touchscreen tablets.


There are no cashiers.


Founder Derin Alemli said his business model calls for marrying technology with a simplified back-of-the-house meal assembly system that requires fewer employees.


“We’re a tech-enabled restaurant,” said Alemli, a self-described serial entrepreneur with an MBA from the University of Chicago.


The Square Roots Kitchen touchscreen tablets display large size fonts and eye-popping food images, making it easy and enticing for customers to build their meals.


“We knew we wanted to go big and bold. There’s no ambiguity,” Alemli said.


After ordering, guests can watch their food being prepared by a food assembler standing behind a glass partition. A typical order is ready in less than 90 seconds.

And, that’s the goal: Convenience, speed and personalization without sacrificing food quality. Alemli is happy with the results. He said roughly 90 percent of the restaurant’s revenue comes from returning customers.


So why are restaurants like Square Roots Kitchen doing so well? And, why are orders higher on average?


Customers tend to order more because they have more to customize. They do not feel the pressure of a line behind them or hearing long sighs of an aggravated customer or cashier when taking their time to decide. People can actually scroll, look at options and decide what they truly want.


When did we get to a point at the counter when people cannot take their time? Maybe it is our fault of wanting to go so fast that we are literally pushing revenue out the door for the sake of speed. But this is exactly what kiosks solve: ordering is the customers’ own personal time.

Maybe it’s time that you look at your own customer experience and seriously consider kiosks. Making customers happy and having them return on a regular basis is the core goal of any restaurant.


Curious about how Custom Business Solutions can help your company? Check out their Northstar POS system and its capabilities to power and improve your restaurant!

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