Thursday, March 13, 2008

Largest Hardee's franchisee tests self-service kiosks

According to QSR Magazine, Boddie-Noell Enterprises, the largest Hardee's franchise operator in the US, has begun testing self-service kiosks from provider EMN8 in three pilot locations. The pilot is intended to, "test the level of guest adoption of the technology, improvement in speed of customer service, and lift in average check the franchisee can achieve."

Hardees and others continue to test the devices for a number of purported reasons, including lifting the average ticket size (by using the kiosk to recognize and push up-sell and cross-sell opportunities), reduce average wait times during peak periods, and generally improve customer satisfaction. It's interesting, then, that none of the big guys have ever moved beyond the pilot phase, despite years of new initiatives. Maybe the cost of the implementation is too high. Maybe it requires too much ongoing maintenance. Or maybe it's too hard to educate the typical QSR patron about a new way of conducting a familiar transaction. But whatever the problem(s), it seems to be big enough to keep ordering kiosks from really taking off.

That having been said, these QSR chains keep trying new technologies and business partners, so it's clear that some of them really do want to see a viable ordering kiosk solution become available. Given the successes the airline industry have had with self-service, QSR does seem like the kind of environment that could really benefit from it. When and where that "eureka!" moment will finally happen, though, is still anyone's guess.

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