Customers welcome kiosks, but operators still reluctant

FRANKLIN Tenn. —North American consumers are embracing more self-service devices for ordering food, shopping checkout, ticketing and other uses, but some quick-service restaurant owners still have qualms about deploying such technology, researchers say.

IHL Group of Franklin, in its 2009 North American Self-Service Kiosks study, estimates that such self-service transactions will exceed $775 billion in 2009. The company predicts that by 2013 more than $1.6 trillion in North American self-service transactions will be handled by such devices as in-restaurant food-ordering stations, grocery and other store checkout systems, ticketing and check-in kiosks, and postal and other retail ordering-and-payment platforms. —North American consumers are embracing more self-service devices for ordering food, shopping checkout, ticketing and other uses, but some quick-service restaurant owners still have qualms about deploying such technology, researchers say.

“We expect continued double-digit growth in the revenue generated by self-service transactions…as retailers, restaurants and transportation authorities offer more devices in more locations,” said IHL lead retail analyst Lee Holman. “Most consumers have adapted to self service as a way of life.” —North American consumers are embracing more self-service devices for ordering food, shopping checkout, ticketing and other uses, but some quick-service restaurant owners still have qualms about deploying such technology, researchers say.

He added that the recession “is actually increasing the acceptance of the technologies” among the owners of many types of businesses, “as they are [viewed as] a hedge against increasing labor expenses in a tough economic climate.” —North American consumers are embracing more self-service devices for ordering food, shopping checkout, ticketing and other uses, but some quick-service restaurant owners still have qualms about deploying such technology, researchers say.

But when it comes to restaurateurs, there is still some reluctance, particularly among quick-service operators, Holman said. —North American consumers are embracing more self-service devices for ordering food, shopping checkout, ticketing and other uses, but some quick-service restaurant owners still have qualms about deploying such technology, researchers say.

Holman said some of that reluctance stems from the fact that many if not most quick-service operations the drive-thru lane generates the bulk of sales. Operators at such locations “probably feel they are better served by investing in cutting three seconds off of drive-thru service times than they are by putting in a kiosk in the lobby,” he said. —North American consumers are embracing more self-service devices for ordering food, shopping checkout, ticketing and other uses, but some quick-service restaurant owners still have qualms about deploying such technology, researchers say.

The widespread practice of franchising also likely contributes to the slow growth of self-service kiosks within quick service, Holman said. In general, he suggested, the variety of service philosophies, comfort levels with technology and financial resources among franchisees can delay the deployment of new technologies. —North American consumers are embracing more self-service devices for ordering food, shopping checkout, ticketing and other uses, but some quick-service restaurant owners still have qualms about deploying such technology, researchers say.

He noted, however, that encouraging news about self-service technologies is coming from the full-service arena. —North American consumers are embracing more self-service devices for ordering food, shopping checkout, ticketing and other uses, but some quick-service restaurant owners still have qualms about deploying such technology, researchers say.

“It’s not a huge movement,” he added, “but it is something we’re starting to get a little pulse on,” as some restaurant companies test or deploy in limited quantities table-top devices or portable units that permit guests to swipe their own payment cards, settle tabs or, in some cases, place orders.— [email protected] [3] —North American consumers are embracing more self-service devices for ordering food, shopping checkout, ticketing and other uses, but some quick-service restaurant owners still have qualms about deploying such technology, researchers say.