Self-Service Kiosks: Innovation in the Fast Food Industry

McDonald’s made the decision to introduce self-service kiosks in 2017, they did so with an increased customer experience being the primary focus. By launching self-service kiosks in their restaurants, they were able to minimize human attention for that role and bring more attention to the happiness of their customers.

The outcome of this was a 26% rise in their share price, with McDonald’s ratings being raised and their shares surpassing their market predictions.

Later on, self-service solutions became more integral than ever. The pandemic altered the way customers view convenience and speed, and self-service kiosks made that transition easier. They also played a role in the reopening of restaurants during this time, bringing new innovations into the realm of this industry. 

With the thought of cleanliness in the back of everyone’s minds, these kiosks are often outfitted with contactless payment methods, allowing the customer a touchless experience that doesn’t require typing pins or touching screens. 

While self-service kiosks are expected to retain their popularity and relevance in the distant future, the same is expected for their use with curbside pickup, food trucks, and even autonomous robot restaurants. 

Customers in today’s environment expect in growing quantities a personalized and tailored experience in every aspect of their product and service consumption, with a demand for convenience and speed remaining at an all time high. Self-service options in turn allow for staff to meet customer demands, cater to their needs with recommendations, and provide an overall higher experience during their time in the restaurant. This is shown to increase sales compared to the traditional method of conducting transactions and heightens speed, convenience, and customer service in a ubiquitous and omnipresent way. 

Companies adopting the self-service kiosk into their restaurant experienced a higher level of production amongst staff members in the store. With less of a focus on transaction based processes, workers became ready and able to help customer in a multitude of ways, whether it be recommendations, help with ordering, or bringing food out to customers. 

McDonald’s locations that introduced self-service kiosks also found that their sales were increasing due to a growth in average order size. Long lines became less prevalent at these stores and customers were introduced to a transaction experience that offered suggestions, tips, and more time to order. 

This industry is one that goes through constant innovation and the demands of the consumer are unceasing. Systems considered up to date in previous years are being replaced with modernized kiosks that assimilate into their environment with precision and ease, and older systems are now considered overpriced and out of date compared to their new counterparts.

The future of interactive self-service kiosks will continue to go through innovation as consumer demand for technological advancements increase, and the flexibility and lower price point of new models will serve as one of the many drivers for these innovations in years to come. 

Contactless Payments and EV Charging

In the early stages of the automobile industry, electricity was competing with steam and gasoline as means of powering cars. According to a Census Bureau report in 1900, more than one-third of all cars manufactured in the U.S. were electric!

Fast forward to 2021. Electric cars are taking a growing share of the automobile industry as most of the car manufacturers today are already selling electric versions of their existing models. This is certainly a sign that electric vehicles are becoming mainstream, and it has many companies scrambling to solve the problem of refueling these cars considering most of them have limited ranges.

Types of charging

There are three current category types for EV chargers: slow, fast, and ultra-fast. The most common are slow chargers, which are typically in use overnight at home. They use around 7kW and typically take 8 hours to charge an average EV car from empty. Fast chargers are typically 50kW models and can add about 100 miles of travel in about 35 minutes. Ultra-fast 150kW chargers are beginning to show prevalence and can bring a quick charging time down to only several minutes.

Market Size

The sales of electric vehicles have fluctuated over the past couple of years as electric cars failed to gain much market share. Global EV sales grew by 41% from 2019 and the global electric car sales share rose to a record 4.6% in 2020. That represents a total of some 10 million units.

In 2021 new EV registrations are expected to total 300,000 units in the United States, 1.2 million units in China, and 1.4 million units in Europe. The leading countries pushing this trend in Europe are the Scandinavian countries.

The EV market share is expected to increase to about 15% of the market by 2025.

“Fill Up the Tank”

As the market continues to grow, the need for places where cars can be quickly charged is growing as well. In 2020 there were approximately 1.3 million public charging spots worldwide. In Europe, 38,000 public fast chargers were accessible, representing a growth of 55% from the previous year.

The number of slow chargers is also increasing. China, who leads the world in the number of slow chargers, has around a half million chargers compared to Europe, which has a quarter million. The United States lags behind with only 82,000 slow chargers.

The Market Forecast

The United States has 17% of the world’s electric vehicles, China has 44% and Europe has 31%.

According to Pew Research, the EV market will grow faster in China and Europe compared to the United States. Today, 7% have electric hybrid vehicles, however 39% stated that they would consider purchasing an electric vehicle next time they buy a car.

According to meticulous research, the electric vehicle market is expected to reach 234 million units by 2027. According to Mordor Intelligence, the electric vehicle (EV) market was valued at $171 billion in 2020, and it is expected to reach a value of $725 billion by 2026.

It Pays to Charge

With the exploding need for charging EV’s, charging stations are quickly becoming a new growth opportunity for operators. This is true for business models that provide only charging as well as for existing operations such as service stations and car washes which can add charging to their service offering and attract more customers and generate more revenue.

A recent study found that drivers of electric vehicles are more than twice as wealthy as the average American, with a median income of over $150,000. This means that the opportunity of offering additional goods and services is a viable option for growth.

The Ultimate Payment Solution for Charging Stations

Today there are not many options when it comes to charging stations but there are different business models that are at play in the market. It pays to take into consideration that customers tend to be sophisticated consumers of higher income brackets. Therefore, solutions should need to be suited to their tastes and sensibilities.

For example, some chains are locking devices to subscription-based payment platforms, which of course places restrictions on drivers. Other charging station operators in the market provide an open system, a model which is likely to be more successful with sophisticated consumers.

 

UCP Contactless Payment Solutions for EV Charging





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