The Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University estimates that the cost to restaurants for employee turnover averages $5,864 per person. There is also an ongoing labor shortage brought on by a combination of low unemployment, a decaying transportation system, and a lack of suitable housing near the nation’s urban cores. With minimum wages rising around the country it’s easy to understand why restaurants want to automate as much of the guest experience as possible. This is why Taco Bell is now paying some managers six-figure salaries.
Turnover in the restaurant industry reached nearly 75% in 2018, with quick-service restaurants registering higher numbers. Panera Bread reports a 130% turnover rate, while Chipotle says that turnover for its hourly employees is 145%.
It’s no wonder that more restaurants have turned to kiosks and mobile ordering with in-store pickup. In fact, many guests are happy to avoid human interactions and simply pick up their orders. Plus, people tend to buy more when they’re at a kiosk vs. when ordering from a human. McDonald’s, which is at the forefront of kiosk expansion, saw a 30% order increase, while Taco Bell saw a 20% order premium.
Kiosk usage is up across all age segments, suggesting that the growth we’ve seen isn’t slowing down any time soon. In fact, most major brands either have launched kiosks or are planning to do so in the near future.
As this change continues, the challenge for restaurants will be to normalize the customer experience across all platforms, both on-premise and off. For example, the continued rise of mobile ordering requires brands to reimagine the end-to-end customer experience because it may exist digitally and in the consumer’s home. Everything from the mobile experience to one-to-one communications through the delivery packaging will come into play.
As all these technologies take hold, brands will need to not only understand their identity but understand how that identity can have its unique attributes both when the customer touches a screen or when they speak to an employee.
What if most stores – and even Amazon – are getting frictionless shopping wrong? What would it mean for brands that are trying to do things differently?
Kim Otocki, a member of the Paytronix marketing team, recently had the opportunity to sit down with Gus Olympidis, the president and CEO of Family Express. His c-store brand has firmly established itself as a leader in the frictionless experience, and Olympidis had a lot of wisdom to offer other c-store owners who are trying to follow suit.
It’s not news to any c-store owner that competition for customers and spend is higher than ever. In addition to the many direct competitors in the industry, convenience stores have to contend with fast-food restaurants, big-box retailers like Walmart and Target, and even online giants like Amazon.
The c-stores that continue to thrive despite these challengers will be the ones that best adapt their businesses to meet new consumer trends, wants, and needs.
In addition to offering reward programs, one of the biggest requests by customers is online ordering and delivery. In the past, c-stores might have thought implementing an online ordering system wouldn’t apply to their business – but times have changed and this is only the beginning.
Technology continues to change the relationship between guests and their favorite brands. Today, one-click ordering, cashless payments, and subscriptions deliver frictionless purchase experiences. To meet rising expectations, restaurants and c-stores must provide guests with easy and hassle-free checkout, and a great way to accomplish this is with NFC Loyalty ID.
NFC, which stands for near-field communication, enables two devices to exchange data when they are brought into close proximity of each other. By simply tapping their phones at an NFC-enabled payment terminal, guests complete their purchase without having to dig through their purses or wallets to find a means of payment, and Paytronix passes along their identification for the brand’s guest engagement program. If they are not members already, the device will display a message inviting them to join the program.