Mega Chains Jump on the Tech Bandwagon

Customer-facing technology has been used by independent operators and smaller chains for a number of years. Recently, however, some of the giants have gotten on board. The challenge is to talk franchisees into purchasing and supporting the technology.

Wendy’s is reportedly offering to install three kiosks per franchised unit for $15,000, promising a return on investment in less than two years from labor savings and increased sales. The units with standing kiosks are 1,000 and counting. David Trimm, the company’s chief information officer, says the personalized experience appeals to younger guests and the systems reduce labor costs.

Panera Bread’s touch-screen kiosks are mounted on a kind of kiosk center, away from counter ordering. There are “kiosk ambassadors” to prevent bottlenecks in busy times. Some stores have up to 12 kiosks. A spokesperson says digital ordering has improved order accuracy.

McDonald’s has upgraded its guest experience with digital ordering kiosks by adding table delivery. The giant has announced that it will introduce kiosks in 2,500 of its 14,000 restaurants by the end of the year. Like Wow Bao, when the unit faces an interior space like a mall, the touch-screen kiosks are placed near the entrance. Otherwise, they are in the interior space. Rather than saving labor, the new technology “reapportions” staff to service-oriented roles. The company is calling this strategy the “experience of the future.”

Subway’s new prototype puts technology front and center as well, with self-ordering kiosks in selection locations, new digital menu boards and mobile payment options as well as a separate food prep and order pick-up location for digital orders. Subway Digital debuted in 2016 to develop an omnichannel strategy for the brand. 


We'll be featuring an in-depth look and case studies on customer-facing technology in the next issue of rd+d

Current Issue

rdd Sept Oct 2017 cvr