Some of the fast-food IoT technologies I’m going to dig into were already catching the wind leading up to our current pandemic.
Due to social distancing measures, it seems natural for any technology to flourish if it can help businesses operate in this environment with less person-to-person contact.
As our favorite places reopen cautiously, the following three technologies can help keep customers and employees healthy. Here are three fast-food IoT technologies that could slow .
Being able to place an order for food indirectly has existed since the telephone. Right now, fast-food restaurants require additional layers of separation between people. Using a kiosk to order has never been more helpful.
What is an Ordering Kiosk?
Ordering kiosks are large, rectangular screens on which you can place orders. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Dr. Thanks to people like Murray Lappe, the technology has been around since the late 1970s. Major fast-food restaurants such as Subway and McDonald’s began experimenting with these screens and ordering back in 2006.
In a 2018 interview, then-McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook shared with CNBC that the company would launch an ambitious plan to equip 1,000 restaurants with kiosks every quarter for eight to nine quarters. The alternative way of placing orders will provide better customer experience and more revenue for the company.
Fast forward to the summer of 2019 and the investment paid off. In last year’s Q2 earnings call, Easterbrook described how the company was seeing higher average checks from customers using order kiosks.
Not everyone is a fan of the ordering kiosk, tho.
Ed Rainsy, the former CEO of McDonald’s USA, expressed his concern about the increasing use of kiosks in an article with Forbes nearly two years ago. His main problem with them was that automating these parts of the business would eliminate valuable opportunities for teens and college students who need an entry-level service industry job. Considering the valuable lessons from my experience as a cashier back in college, I agree with the concerns.
How they help slow down
In our current environment, things like kiosks need to be cleaned almost constantly. McDonald’s has issued reopening instructions that any restaurants using self-order kiosks must sanitize them after each use. The kiosk will help the employees in terms of social distancing and the staff will help in keeping the kiosk clean. For some time, they would work together.
However the IoT kiosk is just one piece of the order. Customers who are still wary of using them (regardless of cleaning protocol) have other options. By now, most major restaurant chains provide an iPhone or an Android app and a website for online ordering.
Smartphone apps and online ordering, in general, will come in handy for this situation, plus, they all provide massive amounts of data on opt-in customers. Pizza Hut (a pioneer in digital ordering) also developed an Xbox app a few years ago and saw over a million in sales within the first four months.
more connections than ever
Now, order initiation is quick, clean and engaging for customers. Restaurants are also starting to focus on patrons’ end of a meal, too. If the last thing they do before leaving is a disgusting feeling about something – chances are they won’t want to come back. That’s why businesses are looking to their waste — and IoT — to further engage with customers and end meals on a clean note.
At-the-source Trash Compactors
During the past 20 years various businesses, schools and city governments have been gradually adopting waste collection at the source. Similar to kiosks, major food chains like Chick-fil-A have been adding more garbage compactors lately at a greater pace. Also, like kiosks, various ideas and home versions of the garbage compactor and additional garbage disposal sources have been around since the 1970s.
The main reasons why restaurants adopt trash compactors and more garbage disposal bins are operational efficiency and sustainability. Quick and easy garbage disposal comes with additional customer experience benefits that will be helpful in a post-pandemic environment.
What is a source garbage compactor?
An on-the-source garbage compactor is essentially a garbage can that turns the waste into a cube so that employees don’t have to go to the dumpster frequently. Fewer dumpster trips, in turn, use fewer garbage bags, reducing plastic production in the environment.
Many also have built-in IoT technology to send a text message or email once the machine is full. This allows the restaurant to focus on other things until one needs to evacuate.