By Evan Schuman for the Kiosk Association
BurgerFi, with 124 U.S. locations spread across 20 states, uses kiosks for faster ordering. The science comes from location, store selection and timing.
The first step, Goodhew argued, is to have a very explicit performance goal in mind before any kiosks are installed.
“We went in with a defined goal with the kiosks. Changing the technology too many times is bad. Micromanaging the experience kills your ROI,” Goodhew said. “You have to let it play out. It costs money every time you change. Give it three months, at least. Then you have a decision: Kill it, keep it or grow it.”
Even though Goodhew targets three months for a kiosk trial, he said that he “wouldn’t change the vendor for at least a year, unless it’s really identifiable that it’s a vendor problem. Some (other merchants) test kiosks side by side, using multiple vendors. That is simply not a good use of everyone’s time. The issue is that you have to spend twice the amount of time, doing twice the integration. Your loyalty, your payments, your menu–all of that has to be integrated twice.”
A better approach is to add time and talent to the evaluation process, selecting your top vendor and then only using one vendor’s kiosks. “Do more of your work upfront. Don’t do a bakeoff,” he said.
“With three months, it gives us a good referential usage number to see how well the tech is doing. You can’t have floating goal posts,” Goodhew said. “We were looking for 5-10 percent increase in check average. We knew the kiosks would upsell. Add a drink or fries or something.”
BurgerFi wanted 60 percent of the customers using the kiosk, with the remainder going to the cashier. “in the test, we met those numbers and we beat the average check size. We hit 15 percent. The kiosks should pay for themselves within six months.”
As for other metrics, “We do look at revenue per store, but we didn’t use that as part of this test,” he said.
Several years back, a regional convenience chain–WaWa–found that the dollars spent per order at kiosks went up because of psychology. How? Some consumers using the kiosk would load orders with extras, such as triple cheese or extra large fries. That would be something they might be embarrassed to ask of a human cashier. It was an unexpected boost in the kiosk ROI.
The next critical decision is deciding which locations will serve for testing. You want to give the kiosks a reasonable and realistic chance to prove delivered value. That means not placing them in stores where no kiosk is likely to do well.
“With self-ordering kiosks, customers have total autonomy over selecting, customizing, and updating their order throughout the transaction and hence are incentivized to spend more. Algorithmically calculated upsells recommend targeted products to increase average ticket size, with BurgerFi seeing a lift of over 18%. In this way, restaurants can expect an immediate return on their investment and save over $6,700 per month per cashier position.”
— Bhavin Asher CEO GRUBBRR
“We used four different locations and saw differences in demographics. Unfortunately, there is no way of quantifying that until after the fact. Well, unless you have two stores with very similar demographics,” Goodhew said. “We had one location, in Boca Raton. It had older generations and they really wanted to talk with the server or the cashier.” In other words, the kiosk–any kiosk–wouldn’t have had much of a chance at that location.
That older community aside, Goodhew said that he no longer sees much resistance to kiosks. “Walmart, Kroger and everyone else already trained our customers” to accept kiosk interactions.
Another critical ROI consideration is kiosk location within the store/restaurant. “If you put them on the counter, they get used more,” he said, but quickly added that some locations can inadvertently cause traffic jams, which itself can disrupt operations and maybe even make the store less appealing to customers. In short, the kiosks are good for business, unless they create traffic jams, which are bad for business.
“Some have tested kiosks at the front of the door. But that might accidentally create a queue at the door and block egress,” Goodhew said.
Goodhew also cautioned against underestimating consumer resistance to anything that might be seen–accurately or not–as invading privacy. That means that many customization abilities of newer kiosks might prove problematic, such as detecting a phone and thereby displaying frequently purchased items first or even tracking eye movement.
Vendor negotiations is another crucial area. “Think about what you can negotiate with the vendor so that you’re not committed. That’s another reason why three months is where we landed.”
Let’s say that a kiosk trial started delivering bad results very quickly. Make sure that you can end or amend a trial if something goes wrong. When that happens, a discussion with the vendor is urgently needed.
You might ask the vendor “What have you done elsewhere that work, something that we didn’t do? Why is this not working here? Is it a training issue? A personnel issue? Put the onus on them. You have to be prepared to walk away,” Goodhew said. If it’s training, that raises the possibility of instructing a store associate to spend time handholding customers and walking them through the kiosk interface. “You can have the cashier train every individual. Is it worth it? Probably not.”
Goodhew referenced one store manager who misunderstood how tips were to be handled and he somehow incorrectly thought the kiosks would deprive his team of money. The manager then decided to put a piece of paper on the kiosks, saying that they were out of order. It’s hard to blame the vendor for that, but it did quickly explain why no one was using the kiosks.
KARL GOODHEW: BurgerFi International has 120 stores internationally. It’s a family-run company. We recently took it public last year. And we have grown and since acquired Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza.
We go as far west as Alaska and as far east as Saudi Arabia.
The recipe of success at BurgerFi is really about the great food, the customer service that we provide. It’s great hospitality.
We decided to really focus on Simphony as our number one and only POS so that we could streamline our operations, roll out new features quickly. It’s not a lockdown system. There are APIs available. So that means we can partner with the biggest vendors on the planet to provide customized solutions for both online and in-store experiences.
The Simphony solution is really seamless for our employees. So as the orders are rung in, the tickets are printed out, that is a flow that naturally occurs. As they’re building the burgers and the orders, it follows the order from the POS through the make line to the bag and out the door or to the restaurant floor. BurgerFi International is all about innovation. We try to test and learn from new vendors all the time.
The backbone of our integration with online is with Simphony. So as we update the menu and update prices in Simphony, they roll up through our online services provider, which then roll out to our mobile app, our website, our delivery service providers. And it’s one place where we can manage our entire menu for the entire enterprise, which includes both corporate and franchise.
At BurgerFi International we’re looking at two major points. The first is how do we drive top-line revenue growth.
So it’s really good that Simphony is payment agnostic and I can integrate with any payment provider that we choose to use.
Simphony, compared to other providers, is a low-cost solution, compared to building out a POS that you then have to have many integrations on the back end or manage Enterprise Solutions. So from a holistic perspective, Simphony has great expense-saving capabilities. And I believe that Oracle provides the best solution for our needs. That includes hardware, software, and the partnership’s support through both APIs and the integrations that are built out of the box.
We believe that the Oracle relationship is a valued relationship. We get immense value out of it because we have access to the resources of Oracle, with the size, breadth, and experience the Oracle has. And we leverage their knowledge and abilities to execute on a daily basis.
About The Solution and the Self-Order Kiosks
Headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, GRUBBRR is the leader in self-ordering technologies that are revolutionizing the way commerce is transacted. GRUBBRR’s award-winning ecosystem, which includes kiosks, smart lockers, kitchen display systems, order progress boards, digital menu signage, mobile ordering, POS, online ordering, and more, are proven to help businesses maximize revenue, decrease labor costs, and improve the consumer experience. With solutions that are adaptable and beneficial to a multitude of businesses, GRUBBRR powers both enterprise-level and small and medium businesses across verticals such as quick-service restaurants, fast casual restaurants, stadiums, movie theatres, casinos, micro-markets, retail, and more. To learn more about GRUBBRR and its products, visit https://grubbrr.com/ or connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.
The Simphony POS system from Oracle is built for complete restaurant management. Simphony powers the most successful food and beverage venues across the globe, from local cafés and iconic fine dining restaurants to global quick-service chains, stadiums, and theme parks. As an all-in-one cloud POS platform, it helps restaurateurs optimize their online and in-house operations in real time from any device. For more information.