Fast Food

Wendy's installing self-ordering kiosks in 1,000 restaurants

Effort to appeal to younger customers, cut down on wait times and reduce labor costs

 

Want to enjoy a Wendy's Junior Bacon Cheeseburger but can't stand the thought of interacting with another human being? 

Soon, plenty of diners at the popular fast-food chain will have the option to order meals via newly installed digital kiosks. Wendy’s says it will put the self-ordering machines in 16 percent of its locations (about 1,000 stores) by the end of 2017.

The fast food chain known for its square burger patties says the kiosks will have multiple benefits.

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First, they'll reduce labor costs. According to The Columbus-Dispatch, a typical fast food restaurant location would receive three kiosks for around $15,000. Those machines would likely pay for themselves in less than two years based off of Wendy's projected labor savings' costs and increased sales (customers who really need to talk to a human will reportedly still have the option of classic counter service). 

Wendy's says the new machines could also help to reduce wait times and increase kitchen output during peak meal times.

“There is a huge amount of pull from (franchisees) in order to get them,” Wendy's chief information officer David Trimm said during the company’s investors’ day on Feb. 16. “With the demand we are seeing...we can absolutely see our way to having 1,000 or more restaurants live with kiosks by the end of the year.”

By cutting down on the potential for human error, the kiosks could also help improve order accuracy. 

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Trimm also said that the chain is ramping up its mobile ordering platforms and that customers paying via a smartphone will eventually take over for kiosks and cash registers. 

Current demand for the new kiosks – which have already been tested in some central Ohio locations – is high.

According to a Wendy’s spokeswoman, higher-volume stores will get priority and receive the first round of kiosks. Around 100 of the 1,000 kiosks will be placed in company-owned stores but franchisees won’t be mandated to install them.