How to Go “Cashierless” at your Corporate Cafe


As a managed foodservice operator, you have your eyes on one main prize: maximized throughput. You’re focused on how to get the most guests through your cafe at the fastest rate. And you want to keep guests loyal by never making them wait in line.

A new operational model has emerged as a response to your needs: the “cashierless” concept. With a combination of Self Order Kiosks and Self Checkout stations, managed dining has landed on a solution that maximizes the lunch rush.

The proof is in the numbers. On any given Wednesday, for example, an average cashierless corporate cafe customer of ours might serve about 790 guests between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. That’s 6.6 orders submitted per minute. Because each guest can complete and pay for their order so quickly – 40 seconds on average – lines don’t form.

In other words, going cashierless – that is, embracing self-order technology – makes previously impossible throughput rates possible. And we’re seeing more and more of our corporate dining clients transition to the model.

So you may ask, where can I start? How can we transform our cafeteria into a cashierless operation? Here, we map out 3 cashierless strategies we’ve seen succeed among our clients…


Strategy #1: The "Seattle" Plan

Corporations have a vested interest in keeping their employees on-campus for lunch. Let’s say the choice to eat lunch at the corporate cafe rather than the place down the street means 100 employees get back to their desks 15 minutes earlier. That mere 15 minutes per employee adds up to more than 25 hours of productivity saved for the company. It certainly pays to keep employees close.

So how do you keep them coming to your dining hall? One way: fast self-ordering and free stuff. Our very first “cashierless” clients opted to offer employees free drinks and snacks to accompany their meals.

The “Seattle” plan:


Strategy #2: The "Manhattan" Plan

Not every corporation wishes to pick up the tab for drinks and snacks. In fact, most corporations don’t. So, we advise clients to reverse the traffic flow and reap the same benefits.

Diners enter the café, pick up items at the Grab ‘n’ Go, and then place orders at Self Order Kiosks (either at the kiosk bank or at each food station). They pay with credit/debit, mobile wallet, or employee ID. And guests who have ordered and paid ahead of time through online or mobile ordering go straight to the food station to pick up their order.

One of our clients went from a traditional setup to one that was both cashless and cashierless. They found the transition to be relatively seamless: at first, people did ask about paying with cash, but after two weeks, no one asked anymore. Their employees adapted quickly and easily.

The “Manhattan” plan:


Strategy #3: The "Wilmington" Plan

How do you capture those straggler sales during off-hours? It used to be the case that staffing your cafe or micromarket at odd hours was expensive. But with self-checkout technology, keeping open early or late only pays off.

We have clients who run full cafeterias during peak hours and then convert to a self-checkout Grab ‘n’ Go after-hours. They capture extra sales with no extra cost. At first, you might be hesitant due to the possibility of theft. But between our solution’s integrated cameras and loss prevention reports, you’ll find the risk to be negligible.

The “Wilmington” plan:


So you want to go cashierless?

Let us help. We'd love to talk to you about how to make the leap.