Diners at the new Blazing Onion Burger Company restaurant location opening next week in Washington will be the first to test the restaurant's new iPad ordering kiosks. David Jones, CEO and owner of the five-location chain, shared his rollout plan Wednesday during a panel discussion about self-service at the Customer Engagement technology World show this week in New York City.
Although the chain's other locations are equipped with standard-ordering kiosks in their lobbies, the iPads will only be at the new location for now. Each table will have one mobile device that customers can use to order and then set aside when they are done with it. They can keep open their checks, adding cocktails and dessert whenever they want. Or, they may place their orders and pay immediately.
Blazing Onion Burger Company is dropping about $95,000 for the platform. That includes $40,000 for the POS system, $40,000 for the iPad system and another $15,000 for miscellaneous hardware and Internet service. It might sound expensive, but Jones, also a Subway franchisee, is counting on the kiosks paying for themselves in less than 9 months. He believes giving consumers the freedom to order and pay whenever they want will add about $1 to every check.
"It's about not making them wait for that extra drink or dessert," he said. "They might decide it's not worth waiting for and you lose that sale, but now they can just add it to their order immediately instead of waiting for a server."
Jones also said the system is equipped with a server page button that the guest can press when he needs something like a drink refill or ketchup.
"It's about giving them the best possible service," he said. "Yeah, it's called self-service but that's really far from what we are doing. We are giving them options so they can have whatever they want on their own time."
Jones discussed his self-service strategy in more detail at CETW with Cherryh Butler, editor of FastCasual.com. Watch below.
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Cherryh Butler has been a reporter and editor for nearly 15 years, writing on a variety of topics, ranging from the restaurant industry to business and health and fitness news. Before joining Networld Media Group as managing editor of Food/Retail Publications, she was content specialist at Barkley ad agency in Kansas City and has served as editor for several publications. She's also written for several daily newspapers, magazines and websites, including Forbes, The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine.