Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Arby’s owner uses automated menu ordering

The East Valley Tribune is reporting that several Arby's restaurants are trialing order-taking self-service kiosks. Similar trials are undersay at various McDonald's and Subway franchises (among others, I'm sure), but none have yet gotten a corporate mandate to be deployed across an entire chain of restaurants:
"The average person gets about 22 minutes for a lunch break from the time they leave the office to the time they get back." [Jay Johnson, director of operations for Scottsdalebased Fx4, which owns 47 Arby’s in Arizona] said, "If they walk into a restaurant and see a huge line, they’re going to go somewhere else. We want to get people in and out as soon as possible without losing friendliness."

Johnson said the shorter lines will encourage more customers to stay, which will eventually increase sales and produce higher revenue. Because the machines have only been in use for a month or so, however, it is too soon to tell whether they are financially benefiting the restaurants.

For the customers who have never used them, an Arby’s employee stands near the order station to answer any questions. Employees still stand at a register to take orders the standard way if customers prefer.

The machines feature a "modify" button for special orders, in case a customer wants extra lettuce or no mayonnaise.

The customer pays at the machine itself, either with a debit or credit card or cash. The cash feature is able to sort out a stack of bills, so the customer doesn’t have to insert them one at a time. Johnson said Fx4 first saw the technology at a trade show but it is not their intention for the touch-screen systems to replace counter personnel.
Read the complete report here.

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