Operationalizing Mobile Technologies

kioskRecently I was asked for more information about the POS industry. I wrote a piece about the trends in the POS industry about a year ago and it can be found here.

Being in the technology sector, things are constantly changing. Mobile continues to be a huge driver in the new POS technologies available. Kiosks are one of the fastest growing products. The Kiosk is the restaurant’s answer to self checkout. These are growing in popularity as it is a way for restaurants to reduce labour costs and also meet their customer’s expectations of technology integration.

I have seen Kiosks implemented many ways. My first interaction with a Kiosk was in France back in 2012. Many of their fast food chains, such as Quick and McDonalds had Kiosk stations where you could order and pay. You would then pick up your order when they called your number. I particularly enjoyed this experience, as it allowed me to hide my terrible French conversational skills.

One of the most impressive interactions with a Kiosk was to follow in 2015. I had a layover at Pearson International, so I decided to sit down for a meal. This particular outlet had tables upon tables populated with Ipad minis and charging stations. The Ipad mini’s were free to use for anyone. On these Ipad mini’s you could order and pay for food at the restaurant. It would then be delivered directly to your table. The picture at the head of this blog is from that experience.

While many businesses are embracing these new technologies, many are failing to operationalize mobile technologies. Have you ever had the experience of placing an online or mobile order and go to the restaurant at the specified time only to discover your order is not ready? I have experienced this many times! Smaller companies seem to suffer the most, as they do not have the benefit of having IT and operational teams that create workflows and processes that accommodate these technologies. Google’s mobile play book ranks this as a primary concern for mobile technologies (see http://www.themobileplaybook.com/en-us/#/home).

When we start using new technologies, we often take operationalization and learning for granted. Just implementing new technology will not automatically work, increase efficiency, or reduce costs. We first need customers to start using these new methods AND we also need to provide an acceptable experience.

When I first began my leadership career in restaurants, I was introduce to the idea of consumer training. Why is it that an out the door line up at Tim Horton’s will only take a few minutes to get through, but the same is not true of other businesses? Consumer training! Customers at Tim Horton’s are taught how to order their coffee efficiently with terms like double double.

Learning and training does not stop with employees, it also involves our customers. Just a thought to ponder…






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