How to successfully Launch Self Service Kiosks and Self Order Kiosks


Self Order Kiosks and Self Service Kiosks have become the talk of the town. It’s pretty clear with articles like Self-order kiosks dominate NRA Show. There are many benefits to self order kiosks and self service kiosks. You can read about them here. Before we dive in, it’s important to note that it’s assumed that the self order kiosks and self service kiosks you have (or plan to have) fit your technology, business operations, and demographic needs. This is important to understand because the information in this article will not apply if the self order kiosks and self service kiosks simply don’t fulfill your technological needs, business requirements, or suit your demographics.


Prepare for launch


Let’s clearly establish and understand what we’re trying to accomplish here. We want to successfully launch self order and self service kiosks for our business. Like most business technologies self order kiosks and self service kiosks are a tool. A tool can only provide a solution or benefit if the business understands how to leverage it. You will maximize the benefit of a tool if you master everything about it. Self order kiosks and self service kiosks are not new in terms of technology, idea, or a concept. What should be new is how we think about them. Our perspective on self order kiosks and self service kiosks must change so that everyone, both customers and business owners, can experience the many benefits of self order kiosks and self service kiosks. So with that in mind lets dive in.


We must fundamentally change how we think about self order kiosks and self service kiosks

Self Order and Self Service Kiosks are a Gift.

(A shift in the business psychology of Kiosks)


That’s right! A Gift! This might sound odd at first, but truly this is a fundamental shift in how we need to think about Self Order Kiosks and Self Service Kiosks. As a business you should buy and implement Self Order Kiosks and Self Service Kiosks as if you’re buying a gift for your customers. This type of thinking resolves major issues with the way businesses are currently thinking about Self Order Kiosks and Self Service Kiosks. How we think about self order and self service kiosks can greatly impact the success of our implementation. To lay the foundation we need to really think about the answers to the following questions:


  • Who are you buying self order and self service kiosks for?
  • Why are you buying self order and self service kiosks?


Who are self order and self service kiosks for?

If you treated it like a gift. It should be for your customers. As a gift it’s certainly NOT for you. You may never even use self order or self service kiosks. Self order kiosks and Self Service Kiosks are for your customers. Because it isn’t for you, a self order kiosk and self service kiosk project should be 100% customer focused. How you buy, design, implement and operate kiosks should all be customer centric.

Customer first thinking can greatly impact the outcome of your self order kiosk and self service kiosk implementation. The end result should be something your customers notice through their in-store experience. Naturally, if you’re buying a gift for someone you’ll want them to:


your gift



your gift


your gift

A reoccurring problem I’ve been seeing in the industry is how businesses are shopping for self order and self service kiosks, which is supposed to be a gift. We established self order and self service kiosks are suppose to be for customers, but businesses are shopping as if they are buying kiosks for themselves. The negative result of this thinking is not surprising. Since the inception of kiosks they have not been treated like a gift because the focus on the customer is not the primary concern if at all. Businesses are mostly considering themselves and benefits they want to gain.

Do we buy gifts thinking about ourselves or do we buy gifts thinking about the recipient?

Imagine buying a gift that is going to be used by someone else, but you’re only thinking about yourself. You’re shopping for someone who’s left handed but you buy a right handed gift because that’s what you’d use. How will that make them feel? What will they think?

Will they Love it, Use it, and Appreciate it? As you can quickly see this can be a big factor between a successful self order and self service kiosk launch and a failed one.

As a general rule when it comes to being customer focused. You shouldn’t think, “We’ll be happy with the more cost effective one.” First, self order kiosks are not here to make you happy. They are here to make your customers happy. Secondly, do you buy a gift for someone because it’s cheap? An even better question to answer is, “Do you want your customer to come to your business and see that you bought them a cheap gift?” If you bought them tech with little regard to their experience will they Love it, Use it, and Appreciate it?

I believe adopting the gift perspective will help set the right foundation for understanding the best implementation for self order and self service kiosks. Customer first. Always.

Your main focus for self order kiosks and self service kiosks should be to make sure your customers Love it, Use it, and appreciate it. If you’ve accomplished those things. You’re on the right track.

Why are you implementing kiosks?


The most natural and common answer often sounds something like “we’re thinking about kiosks because of all the different benefits to the business…” This is the second major thinking pattern where I believe our main focus should change. Are there many benefits to the business? Definitely. I’ve written about many of them in many articles. However the benefits will ONLY come if customers want to use self ordering and self service kiosks! If customers hate the experience, it’s too hard to use, it’s inconvenient, the operational process is bad, and the technology is cheap, nobody will benefit and kiosks will most definitely be a waste of time and money.

All the benefits of self order and self service kiosks will come if customers want to use self ordering and self service kiosks!

Sound reason should be something like:

“I want my customers to love coming to our store and I want their experience to be fast, easy, and friendly. I want my customers to appreciate the technology we’ve put in place to make their lives easier and more convenient.” Again, customer centric thinking.

When customers are happily and thankfully using self ordering and self service kiosks businesses will gain all the benefits. This really means, the benefits to the business are really a byproduct of customers loving, using and appreciating self ordering and self service kiosks. Our focus should be the customers.

This is markedly a very different approach than the current mentality today. I urge you to consider thinking about how this can impact your success. When the customers benefit from self ordering and self service kiosks, then the business will too.

The more the merrier.

(A change in customer psychology of kiosks)

When it comes to gifts who doesn’t want more? Well this is certainly true with Self Ordering and Self Service Kiosks. A strong suggestion is to always implement at LEAST two (2) kiosks. Of course there is probably a number where too much is too much, but we don’t think most businesses will end up on that side of the spectrum, it’s usually on the not enough spectrum.

So why is having more kiosks important? One of the big reasons for kiosks is to shorten wait times, speed up ordering, and overall line bust (all of these things impact the customer experience and yes it benefits the business too but again byproduct..). Most people are not going to wait in line to use a single kiosk. Let’s say some people are willing to wait in line. This can bring up another issue that can impact the customer experience. When a customer is on a kiosk there are people in line waiting for them to finish. This can cause some anxiety and unspoken pressure to hurry up and order. Part of what makes a self ordering and self service kiosk helpful is that customers can look through different options and explore the menu. When there is added pressure to hurry up, customers won’t feel like they can peruse and purchase more. This added pressure can cause customers to simply order something quickly and get out of the way.

Having one kiosk can diminish the benefits and maybe even defeat the overall purpose. That can lead to a failed self order kiosk initiative for your business.

The other thing about having only one kiosk is that self order kiosk can quickly become a gimmick. Like anything, nobody takes it seriously unless you’re serious about it. Having one lonely kiosk doesn’t send a message to customers that this is the best way to order and now this is the primary way to order. The message it does send is, you can use this kiosk if you feel like it, but just go to the counter instead. This brings us to the most important point.

Just like we’ve had to update how we as business owners think about implementing self order kiosk technology. We need to help customers update their psychology of ordering. One challenge with the current thinking process is that we naturally want to tell a person what we want to order. When you walk into a restaurant you’re looking for someone to tell your order to. In order to drive a successful kiosk initiative we’ll need to help customers change that instinctive reaction. A great way we can accomplish this is by showing them that the old way (ordering from the counter) is slow, tedious, inconsistent and that it’s inconvenient. Convenience, speed, and ease of use can be strong drivers of behavioral change and this is no different with self order kiosks. When there is only one or not enough kiosks, especially when it’s busy, it will be hard to convince your customers that it’s more convenient to wait in line for a kiosk than to just go to the counter. The end result will be that customers may not see the value in using self order kiosks. We already know what happens if they don’t love it, use it, and appreciate it.

Bringing it all together.


Ok now that we’ve got our priorities focused on the customer and we’re buying them a gift. We also know we need to help our customers with adopting new and better ordering habits. After that it all comes down to execution.


What does that mean, execution?


Let’s go back to our gift analogy. How you present a gift really matters. We’re not just talking about fancy bags and wrapping paper. For instance, if it was a super special surprise you’d maybe blindfold the person and walk them through somewhere and then surprise them! It’s ALL about the exciting experience of something new.


Now I’m not saying you blindfold your customers, but there is a way to execute an exciting kiosk launch. There is definitely a right way to present your new gift to your customers. So lets talk about some ways that might matter most.

Making it work will come down to some adjustments to your operational workflow, getting your staff on board, and seamlessly integrating the self order kiosk process into your business.


Layout considerations

Most restaurants were not designed for self order kiosks when they were originally built, so it’s very important to make sure you consider the logistical layout of your restaurant.


Some good questions to ask:

  • When a customer walks in does the layout make it easy to figure out where to go to order on a kiosk?
  • When a customer walks in is it obvious that other customers are ordering at kiosks?
  • Is it convenient to gain access to a kiosk?

Where you place the kiosks can make a big difference in the ease of adoption of kiosks. For instance, if a customer has to pass the counter to get to a kiosk, you may have lower kiosk adoption because they cashier is already there and we’re playing right into the old psychology of ordering.



One thing that I’ve seen that works really well is to train your (former) cashiers to provide a concierge service for self order kiosks. They will be available, especially during heavy traffic hours, standing nearby to help anyone at anytime. When they aren’t helping with ordering, they can also help usher or direct customers to “check out” or “try out” self order kiosks. This process can actually become a nice value added service for your customers and if done properly, really enhance the in-store experience with hands on personalized service. Your staff should understand that the adoption of self order kiosks will make their jobs easier. Doing this correctly can greatly reduce the work of seamlessly integrating the self order kiosk experience into your business.


Kitchen and Operations

The other part of integrating self order kiosks is to understand that self order kiosks and self service kiosks can and will allow customers to order faster. Complex and customized orders can be ordered significantly faster. What this means is you’ll need to better prepare your kitchen and operations team to be able to handle more volume. This doesn’t simply mean cook food faster. This could mean you’ll need a more streamlined approach to getting completed orders to the customers. This could mean you might create a separate waiting area for customers or have a more effective way of notifying customers that their order is ready. There are often a ton of things that can be improved, but previously never needed because ordering was slow before. If you do this right, you can increase the overall efficiency of your business which is always a great thing.


So there you have it.

As you can see implementing self order kiosks isn’t simply just buying equipment and plopping them down and sending orders to the kitchen. It’s a process of changing how we fundamentally think about our business and customers. How we can help customers improve in the way they interact with our businesses so that everyone can grow and benefit.

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