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Christopher Pounds

But there is a way that the kiosks can yield a better experience: think about the case if you had 2 cashiers vs. 5 kiosks. When someone who is "new to brand" is parked in front of a cashier, the throughput of the system is kicked down by 50% as they are guided through the ordering process. With multiple kiosks, this turns throughput from 1/2 to (n-1)/n which presumably is a win for kiosks over the cashier model. If the mix of people trends to mostly experienced shoppers, this could make for much higher throughput.

The predictive side would have the kiosk recognize you as your phone gets close (MAC address) and then say, "Hi KF, would you like these bundles you ordered in the past or would you like to try this new thing that people like you have been ordering?" Kiosks could also give recommendations to the New to Brand characters who just want to try what is popular.


Hi Chris: I am not saying the model is inherently bad. Any of these hypotheses need to be tested against real data. A few hours of one person observing the space, when the restaurant is not anywhere near standard operating capacity, is a horrible way of demonstrating that this new model "reduces wait times". Increasing throughput is likely the real goal of such a project. Even that cannot be attained if they didn't increase the capacity of the kitchen staff making the food. In your example, if I were running this restaurant, I'd absolutely want to have real human beings selling my brand to the new customers. The people who would love this cashier-free system are the loyal customers who know exactly what they want to order... these people are best served with a mobile app.


My impression is that most food and coffee places the delay is in preparing the order so there is always effectively what is a queue between the order taker and the preparers. As a consequence it doesn't matter if the order taker has to take a little longer on some customers or maybe is interrupted to do something else.

I like the idea of mobile app based ordering, even though I haven't tried it. It should allow me to choose the time at which my food becomes available. If I'm in the shop I would take the first available time, but if I'm in my office I could ask for a further 5 minutes extra before it was ready. The beauty of modern systems is that it just appears at the correct time to start preparation.

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