Often the discussion about foodservice automation starts (and ends) with promises about increased throughput, greater accuracy and successful upsells. Throw in some labor savings and you might think that sums up the case for self-order technology in managed dining.
NOT SO FAST! While it’s true that self-order technology from NEXTEP SYSTEMS does have significant financial benefits, the impact of self-order is much more personal than that. Imagine...
Time for Tacos
Steve is in a hurry, like always. These days, at least, he has time for lunch. Luckily for him, the new café in his office building lets him spend less time in line so he can spend more time prepping for an upcoming presentation. He grabs a side salad and Coke Zero out of the cooler before placing his lunch order. The border tacos sounded good. There's a line at the Fiesta station, a fact that would ordinarily keep him away, but Steve learned he can now skip the line and order from any open kiosk. So he scans his items, orders two tacos, NO tomatoes of course, and pays for everything with a tap of his badge. He knows it may be a couple of minutes before his tacos are ready, so Steve uses that time to grab a table and layout his notes to review one last time. By then, his order is showing as completed on the Order Status Monitor at the pickup station. The tacos are great - hopefully, his presentation will go as smoothly as lunch.
The Paradox of Choice
Sally has a problem - the good kind of problem. She doesn’t know what to order for lunch. Since the café reopened there are a lot more options to choose from. She used to stick to pretty much the same thing every day: turkey club, no mayo. Some of the other stations seemed interesting, but it was always hard to figure out what to order, and she never wanted to be the person holding up the line while she decided. Now with the new kiosks, she can browse what's offered at each station. Plus, the calorie counter helps her make better choices along the way. Today the grilled salmon special sounds great, and it’s not bad for the diet either. A smile spreads across Sally’s face as she confirms her order: another win/win lunch.
Thank God It's Fry Day
Friday is Bill’s favorite day of the week. And not just because of the whole TGIF thing - it’s fish & chips day at the café downstairs. To be fair, they’ve always served fish and chips on Friday’s, but recently it’s become ‘a can’t miss’ event for Bill for one simple reason: hot fries. Before the new kiosks were put in the café, Bill had to wait in line to pay after he picked up his order. Sometimes the line was long, and his fries would get cold while he waited. Soggy, cold fries just don’t cut it, malt vinegar or not. He even tried to pay first once, but the deviation from the norm became more hassle than it was worth. Now, Bill pays using his debit card right at the kiosk as he places his order for fish & chips (extra crispy fries, please). And when his order is ready, he can dive right in while the fries are hot and tasty. No wonder they say TGIF.
Guests aren't the only ones who feel the day-to-day benefits of self-order. By using technology to manage ordering and payments, cafeteria staff can focus on preparing the food quickly and correctly. They also have time for meaningful interactions that go beyond, “Next?” or “What do you want to order?” Many companies have found that kiosks give their staff the time and freedom to be hospitable, resulting in better, more personal service.