Finding Truth In The Fast Food Terminal

Fast food restaurants are cross-selling, shortening lines, and avoiding mistakes by using ordering terminals.
Drew Grossman

If you’ve driven through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, or Virginia, you’ve surely seen the red-lettered Wawa sign marking the home of yet another branch of the popular convenience store. Whether it’s for the inexpensive gas, surcharge-free ATMs, hot coffee, or freshly made sandwiches, folks in the mid-Atlantic love their Wawa. The store is also a delicious example of the value of ordering kiosks something that credit union land might refer to as an in-branch, member service kiosk.

In 2002, Wawa put touch-screen ordering kiosks in all of its stores to allow customers to personalize their deli orders. The Wawa deli features an extensive menu of made-to-order sandwiches, soups, salads, quesadillas, and breakfast foods the works. The kiosks cut down on lines, assure accuracy in orders, and allow Wawa to track deli sales and inventory.

Its neighbor, Sheetz, which is also a staple of Mid-Atlantic highways, began experimenting with touchscreens to order deli sandwiches back in 1993. In a May Fast Company article, Sheetz CEO, Joe Sheetz, told writer Neal Ungerleider that touch screens also allowed Sheetz to introduce customers to new and unfamiliar products. For example, many of its customers who lived in rural markets were unfamiliar with espresso-based drinks and their various special titles. In response, the company made the drinks prominent on the touchscreen order points, where the user could see pictures of the drinks and clear, easy-to-read descriptions of all espresso bar items. With a screen-based food ordering system, you can put descriptors on anything, Sheetz says.

Customers can also find things on the touch screen terminals they didn’t know the convenience stores carried. It’s an opportunity to push new products.

Although credit unions aren’t selling sandwiches and coffee, member service kiosks have the same upside. Once members get comfortable using the technology, it provides an opportunity to showcase the entire menu of the credit union’s offerings. It’s also a platform to simplify and explain the credit union’s more complicated products. At the least, member-service kiosks can give members a primer on what products are available, pique their interest, and give them a background in a product so they feel more comfortable approaching a branch employee with further questions.

Member service kiosks offer the following perks for credit unions and their members:

  • Shorter lines in the branch
  • A visual platform to explain products and services
  • The opportunity to advertise products by giving them prominent placement on the display
  • Tracking sales and member preferences
May 21, 2014

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