Self-Serve Kiosks: How They Could Work for Your Business

Self-Serve Kiosks: How They Could Work for Your Business
Here's how self-serve kiosks can streamline operations and improve customer service.
by Chidinma Nnamani Apr 23, 2024 — 3 min read
Self-Serve Kiosks: How They Could Work for Your Business

As a business owner, finding ways to streamline operations and improve customer service is always a priority. If you run a busy restaurant or retail store, a self-serve kiosk may help you do just that.

What is a self-serve kiosk?

A self-serve kiosk is an interactive touchscreen device that allows customers to buy products or services without the help of a staff member. It includes both hardware and software components that make it possible for customers to browse items, to place orders, and to pay independently.

The hardware component is a screen device that is fixed in place to surfaces such as walls, countertops, or standing pedestals. The software component is a kiosk application that allows you to design an ordering workflow that suits your business. 

How a self-serve kiosk can help your business

Improve space management.

A self-serve kiosk can save significant counter space. The Square Stand Mount can be fixed on walls, on counters, or on standing pedestals. So you can customize the device to fit into your space without making any major structural changes to your store or restaurant.

Reduce staffing requirements.

Customers can complete orders with little or no staff attention on a self-serve kiosk. This helps free up staff members for other important activities that benefit from human interaction. This may be particularly helpful if your business is short on staff. According to the Square Future of Restaurants report, all (100%) surveyed restaurant leaders said they use technology and automation to help fill critical gaps when they’re not fully staffed. Thirty-six percent rely on automation and technology specifically to accept customer orders.  

Deliver a better customer experience.

In self-serve mode customers have complete control over their orders, so they can select items they need quickly and check out faster. This means fewer order errors and shorter wait times, which translate to an improved customer experience.

Increase your revenue.

First, self-serve kiosks offer customers anonymity, so they can order more items or make special requests without feeling judged. In one study, the market share for hard-to-pronounce items increased by 8.4% via self-service channels.  

Second, self-serve kiosks allow you to set up well-planned upsells and other incentives that can be presented to customers in a carefully considered way. Customers who order at kiosks at Shake Shack for instance spend nearly 10% more on average compared to those who order at cashiers.   

Receive better customer insight.

Customer activities on self-serve kiosks can be accurately tracked, giving you more insight into customer behavior and preferences, enabling you to offer more personalized experiences.

How to set up a self-serve kiosk for your business

Analyze your business needs.

Consider whether a self-serve kiosk is a wise investment for your business. Think about the purpose of your kiosk and how you intend to use it. For example, a busy, quick-service restaurant may want to speed up customer service or optimize space. In contrast, a full-service restaurant may need an easy way for servers to punch in orders without crowding the kitchen or counters.

Choose the right device. 

Once you’re clear about the purpose of your self-serve kiosk, the next step is to choose a device. Consider ease of use. The last thing you want is a device that’s difficult for customers to use or that requires several minutes of explanation. That defeats the purpose and experience of a self-serve kiosk. Next, match device specs against your requirements. If freeing up counter space is a key requirement, consider a small device such as the Square Stand Mount, which can be fixed anywhere — on a wall, on a flat surface, or on a standing pedestal — and connects your POS directly with multiple kiosk apps.

Set up your kiosk.

Choose a good spot in your store or restaurant. Depending on the device you choose, you may not need a technician to install it. For example, all the mounting hardware needed to install the Square Stand Mount is included in the box, so it requires zero service visits. Plus, if you change your mind about a kiosk location, you can uninstall it and move it to another location. 

Promote your kiosk.

Your self-serve kiosk is only helpful if your customers use it. Inform customers about your kiosk and find ways to boost adoption. In-store signage can introduce customers to the kiosk and provide easy instructions. You can also encourage customers to use the kiosk by offering a discount on orders placed via the self-serve kiosk.

Chidinma Nnamani
Chidinma Nnamani writes about the food industry, digital marketing, and technology — and explores the fine spaces where they intersect. She works with B2B startups and agencies, helping them deliver clear, actionable, and insightful content for business audiences.


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