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Future-Proofing Kitchens: The Rise of Online Ordering & Self-Serve Kiosks

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Guest Post from Craver

In today's digitally-dominant era, the restaurant industry is rapidly changing. Kitchens are evolving into tech-centric hubs to meet the growing demand for convenience, speed, and efficiency. Traditional dining experiences and phone reservations are swiftly being replaced by digital alternatives, such as online ordering and self-serve kiosks.

Currently, over half of U.S. consumers opt for delivery or takeout at least once a week, showcasing a clear shift in dining preferences. For restaurants of all sizes, digital ordering options are no longer a luxury—they’re a necessity.

The Online Revolution in Restaurants

The restaurant industry witnessed a dramatic transformation between 2020 and 2021. Online orders surged by 124%, signaling a significant shift in both restaurant operations and customer behavior. This evolution goes beyond the integration of high-tech kitchen equipment or the addition of a reservation feature; it represents a complete overhaul of the entire dining journey. Today’s customers are in search of an all-encompassing digital dining experience that combines great food, quick service, and a personalized ordering experience.

Statistics emphasize the rising demand for digital integration:

Diners are eager to embrace the convenience and efficiency that digital solutions bring to their ordering experience.

Why Restaurant Apps are More Relevant than Ever

Leading the digital ordering revolution, Starbucks processes an impressive 25% of transactions through its mobile app, and their digitally-engaged customers purchase 2-3 times more. McDonald's too, with its app downloaded 40 million times in 2022, and Uber Eats generating a whopping $8.3 billion in revenue in 2021, highlight the undeniable momentum of this trend.

However, you don't need Ronald McDonald’s bottomless-ball-pit of development funds to digitize your restaurant. Craver builds custom-branded mobile apps for local restaurants, bringing McDonald's-level app features to your fingertips without the hefty price tag. Free from commissions, setup fees, and long-term contracts, Craver ensures that even the little guys can compete in the digital games.

Here’s what else it can do:

Increase Revenue by up to 40%

Restaurants using Craver-powered apps typically see sales growth of up to 40%, proving that a premium digital experience is accessible and advantageous for restaurants of all sizes.

Boost Average Order Values by up to 20%

Leverage modifiers and upsell features through your restaurant’s app to increase your average order value by as much as 20%.

Advanced Personalization

With “Build-Your-Own” options, order modifiers, and combo deals, your restaurant’s app offers personalization while maintaining a less than 3% cart abandonment rate.

Reward Loyal Customers

Encourage repeat business with loyalty points, coupons, and discounts, fostering a loyal customer base.

Your Customer, Your Data

Gain insights into customer behavior, including when, how, and what they order most, all while maintaining complete ownership of your customer data.

Discover how Craver can transform your restaurant’s digital presence by booking a demo today. Fresh KDS customers get an exclusive 50% discount on Craver for the first 3 months, plus a $200 credit for Fresh KDS per location.

Self-Serve Kiosks: Bridging the Physical and Digital

Self-serve kiosks are rapidly gaining popularity in the restaurant industry, particularly amongst the younger generation. 18-24 year olds are 70% more likely to visit a restaurant if it has a kiosk option, highlighting a shift toward convenience above everything else.

And it doesn’t stop at restaurants; this trend spans across fast-food chains, QSRs, sit-down restaurants, and coffee shops too. Rather than viewing this shift as a challenge, consider it an opportunity: the integration of self-serve kiosks can significantly enhance your restaurant’s efficiency and elevate your customer experience.

Here’s what else it can do:

Optimize Your Staff Costs

Self-serve kiosks automate the ordering process, freeing up your staff to focus on what they do best — serving exceptional food and drink.

Increase Average Order Size by 20%

Orders placed via self-serve kiosks tend to be 20% larger on average compared to those taken by cashiers. This is because kiosks consistently offer add-ons and order modifiers, something staff may occasionally overlook.

Reduce Wait Times & Boost Peak Revenue

Implementing self-serve kiosks is a low-risk strategy to enhance order flow during peak times. Research shows that decreasing wait time by just 7 seconds can result in a 1% increase in revenue.

For those seeking the icing on their digital transformation cake, a self-serve kiosk is it. Explore Craver’s self-serve kiosk solution here.

Integrating Online and Kiosk Ordering with Kitchen Operations

In today’s fast-paced restaurant environment, it’s vital to handle online orders smoothly and keep your kitchen running efficiently. By using systems that work together, you can speed up service and improve customer satisfaction.

Seamless Order Flow

Platforms like Fresh KDS create a direct channel from self-serve kiosks and app portals to the kitchen. This integration not only streamlines operations but also guarantees timely delivery of orders.

Real-time Kitchen Updates

In this data-driven age, having access to real-time insights is invaluable. Knowledge of order influx, high-demand dishes, and table turnover rates empowers restaurants to optimize staffing, fine-tune kitchen operations, and ultimately, boost profitability.

Enhanced Customer Communication

Timely updates on orders are not just appreciated by customers—they’re expected. With 59% of customers saying that real-time order tracking makes them more likely to order again, integrating ordering systems with customer communication becomes a necessity.

The Future-Ready Kitchen

In today's rapidly evolving landscape, shaping a future-ready kitchen isn’t about adopting robotic chefs or AI-driven recipes; it's about seamlessly blending technology with a human touch. The surge in technology has been instrumental in shifting customer preferences, making digital solutions like online ordering and self-serve kiosks not just upgrades, but necessary evolutions for restaurants.

Online ordering and delivery have outpaced dine-in traffic, growing 300% faster since 2014, highlighting a definitive shift toward digitalization in the restaurant industry. As this future unfolds, the pertinent question for restaurateurs becomes: Is your kitchen ready to meet these new expectations?

Investing in digital technology is no longer a matter of choice but a requisite for staying competitive. While keeping pace with giants like KFC, Domino’s, and McDonald’s might seem daunting, local restaurants hold a unique advantage: a base of dedicated diners who prefer the personal touch and community connection that larger chains can’t offer. To keep these loyal customers satisfied and returning, embracing digitalization is imperative.

Starting Your Digital Journey: A Must for Local Restaurateurs

The push towards digital isn’t just about staying competitive; it’s about maximizing your restaurant's potential. Consider the following:

The question has shifted from “Do I need to digitalize?” to “How quickly can I start?” For local restaurateurs, the future is digital, and the time to act is now.

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