Self-service technology has been a real game-changer over the years, but despite the fact that interest took flight in around 2006, its adoption is typically only seen in larger chains and brands. This is particularly true when it comes to fast food as you can expect self-service machines to be used in the big chains but smaller businesses and the independent market seem to be struggling to keep pace.
This could be problematic for these smaller businesses, especially moving out of the pandemic. The pandemic will have long-term changes in consumer habits and it is likely that a high-percentage will still want to be able to have a contact-free experience when it comes to fast food. Self-service is helpful for customers because it can lower pressure in what can be a stressful environment and it is much more convenient. As a business, you obviously want to keep your customers happy and the adoption of self-service technology is one way to do this in today’s day and age.
It is not just the customers that can benefit from the adoption of self-service technology, either. McDonald’s is one of the major chains to adopt self-service as a way to speed up ordering time, reduce human error and allow for easier customisation of orders. Interestingly, increased usage of the technology over the years has led to an increased order size per customer, which means that sales are higher and costs are lower through improved efficiency.
Essentially, this means that kiosks can increase return on investment and benefit both the customer and the business. The big chains have embraced this type of technology and are reaping the rewards, but many smaller businesses have not yet done this and this could be holding them back. This could be because of financial reasons or perhaps because they believe that customer service is key as a smaller business, but when you look at consumer behaviour and consider the pandemic, it seems that a contactless experience is preferred in today’s day and age.
Small businesses need to find the best ways to build towards long-term success, especially when competing against enormous brands like McDonald’s. Staying current with consumer trends and adopting new technologies is key for this as well as making sure that you have a fast-food insurance policy in place that will protect the business, which should include public liability, business interruption, content and stock cover.
Self-service has transformed the fast-food industry and consumer expectations (along with the pandemic), but smaller businesses have been slow to adopt this technology and this could be holding them back and stopping them from competing with the bigger chains.