Restaurant Development & Design

September-October 2017

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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5 2 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 7 screen that contains a food menu in addi- tion to the usual flight information. Trav- elers order, pay and receive a delivery time. The food is delivered to their seat. Rick Blatstein, founder and CEO of OTG, says the concept is designed to bring humanity back to dining in an airport. (For more on OTG's integration of tech, see page 14.) Kiosks are now for more than order- ing food. WD's Gamble says, "Self-serve beer systems are growing in popularity due to the elimination of the bartender and the associated labor costs while achieving a desired volume greater than a bartender's capability." Automated beer dispensers reduce lines and waiting times as well as give the customer more control. In the Cincinnati Reds ballpark, Delaware North Sportservice has installed 20 self-serve beer kiosks for thirsty sports fans. Stored-value cards are available in Cincinnati retail stores and can be used throughout the season. The customer taps his card next to the beer he wants and is charged for the pour, similar to pumping gas. Delaware has also set up four kiosks in the main concourse that allow fans to order and pay for food offered at six themed concession stands. After completing the transaction, consum- ers go to an express pickup station for their order. The Boise TechMall in Idaho sports a self-serve beer and wine kiosk at a location called the Boise Hot Spot. Techies get a RFID card from staff, make their selections and fill their glasses. Where Will It Go from Here? Gamble predicts a healthy future for customer-facing technology. "I see this as a growing trend that will continue to gain popularity as the technology im- proves. The goal is obviously to increase sales, but it also improves the customer experience and keeps them engaged," he says. "We're all creatures of habit, and moving forward, it will keep getting easier to purchase our favorite meals from our favorite restaurants." It's up to the restaurants to design the technology experience so that they can best deliver on their brand promise. + Make Room for Kiosks Kiosk ordering has become mainstream at Wow Bao, a Lettuce Entertain You Enterprise (LEYE) chain that started in Chicago and now has nine units and four hotels serving its products. The menu star is a selection of baos, steamed Asian buns filled with a variety of proteins, Thai curry or veggies. The concept has been using kiosks for ordering and payment since 2009. Geoff Alexander, vice president at LEYE and managing partner of Wow Bao, explains that they followed two options when designing their customer- facing technology. Some of the units are in malls, which allows the company to place the kiosks just outside the entry door. In crunch times, this keeps the line at the kiosk separate from the line at the counter. In other configurations, the kiosks are inside, nearer to the cashier. Al- exander says that the external design works better in terms of handling flow. "We prefer it because you can order, walk in and grab your food, and get out," he says. "It doesn't affect your inside layout. It doesn't affect your queuing. It doesn't affect anything." Three of the five company store kiosks now boast facial-recognition capabil- ity. When a customer completes an order, the screen asks if she'd like to have the order remembered. She can choose to have it saved by phone number or facial recognition. With the latter, a camera takes a photo in eight seconds. The next time she visits the kiosk, it will recognize her and pull up her last four orders. Case Study: Wow Bao's Kiosks Are Looking at You Wow Bao's kiosks boast facial-reconition technology. Photo courtesy of Wow Bao

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