Kiosks vs. Mobile Apps: A Face-Off of Restaurant Tech

Birmingham Alabama, Aug. 29, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With almost anything these days, there is, as the slogan goes, “an app for that.” That may be so, but an app’s availability doesn’t necessarily translate into effectiveness.

Especially when pitted against restaurant kiosks.

“Diners have long gravitated to technology that is easy to use and meshes seamlessly with their daily lives,” said Grace Vasa, CEO of Juke Slot, a leading kiosk manufacturer for the restaurant industry. “That’s what kiosks in restaurants have done. The strides that these devices have made in recent years – and will continue to make – will only further bolster their position in people’s eyes.”

In the hotly competitive self-service world, mobile apps and kiosks continue to elbow each other for dominance in the marketplace as consumers seek more convenience and restaurants work to enhance the dining experience.

Earlier this decade, as mobile apps grew in popularity and use, some technology experts mused that phones eventually would pinch – or even supplant – kiosks’ position in the marketplace.

Back in 2010, Troy Carroll, the CEO of Intava, a provider of retail interactive technology, predicted that year would mark the beginning of mobile apps overtaking and displacing kiosks. The reason: Kiosks don’t portray the technological attractiveness of mobile apps.

“Without exception, every retailer I spoke to about traditional kiosks … met the topic with frowning brows, shaking heads or statements that kiosks simply aren't that interesting,” he said in the story published on “In other words, retailers have moved on.”

Either way, apps and kiosks are major money makers. Revenue generated by kiosks in North America is forecast to jump a 6.1 percent compound annual growth rate to $4.4 billion by 2024, according to research firm Transparency Market Research (TMR). The United States has led the growth, thanks to the presence of established deployers, accounting for a revenue share of close to 90 percent in the North America kiosk market in 2015.

Collective revenues from all apps ballooned from $8 billion in 2011 to an estimated $45 billion in 2015  —  a jump of more than 500 percent. And according to TMR projections, app store gross revenue could hit $77 billion in 2017. That number, of course, includes apps used across all sectors of business and entertainment – restaurants, retail, movies, gaming, etc.

When it comes to mobile apps vs. kiosks in the restaurant field, here’s why some experts give the edge to using a self-service ordering device over a mobile app:

App overload

Apple’s App Store and Google Play have become bloated with thousands of restaurant industry apps – among the millions available – centered on self-service. Chains and mom-and-pop eateries all have introduced apps with the hope of reaching customers who either want to pre-order and pay through their personal device or who simply want to limit their interaction with the wait staff.

With all those apps, there are too many choices, some say.

For most consumers, loading a phone with a host of restaurant apps doesn’t make much sense, as most are rarely used.

Just ask Francie Mendelsohn, president of Summit Research Associates, who uses only one of two religiously. Because she frequents Starbucks and is part of the company’s rewards program, she orders and pays through the app to earn more points.

Downloading gobs of dining apps – few of which might ever be used – does little more than create a jumbled mess.

“If you go to a certain place every week, you might have that one,” Mendelsohn said. “To have 20 or 30 of them and have to fish around – nah.”

Phone hang-ups

Technology experts don’t discredit the impact of mobile apps. They have brought conveniences to people’s lives and more quickly put information at their fingertips.

But weighed against restaurant kiosks, mobile apps potentially disrupt the flow of the ordering, delivery and payment processes.

That’s not a design flaw, experts say. Kiosks simply fit better into the experience, research shows, with 68 percent of diners saying that self-ordering kiosk enhanced their visit.

“In a short time, kiosks have proven immensely valuable to businesses and consumers alike,” Vasa said. “These devices have revolutionized the way many business that deploy them operate – restaurants, retailers, etc.”

The success of mobile apps hinges largely on fast, consistent Wi-Fi or cellular service. Connectivity hiccups, combined with dated phones or phones with little storage, can trigger delays in thumbing through the online menu, placing orders and processing payments.

And these days, consumers are tied to their phones more than ever. That means they spend considerably more time constantly talking and browsing – even as they sit in a restaurant.

“If I’m in a restaurant and talking on the phone at the same time, I’m not going to get off the phone then order,” Vasa said. “I will place the order through the kiosk because it’ll be quicker.”

Kiosk ease of use

Kiosks are seen in many regards as time-savers. Take the case of Jonathan Alverez, for example. With only a half-hour for lunch, he’s found that bypassing a human cashier for a kiosk at the McDonald’s near his office has cut in half the time it used to take him to order and receive his food.

What has made kiosks particularly enticing to consumers is their efficiency.

Customers want to buy products that are easily available, within their budget and present the required information pertaining to ingredients, product details, nutritional value and others. Products and information provided at kiosks quickly cater to those demands.

“When kiosks first came along, there was a learning curve for users,” Vasa said. “It took them some time to figure them out. As time has gone on, kiosks are everywhere. Exposure has helped people understand the technology and become more comfortable with it. Kiosks no longer are seen as potential obstacles, but rather as necessities.”

Juke Slot develops automated technology designed to facilitate faster service and provide entertainment for consumers in the casino, hospitality and restaurant industries. Its Android-based kiosks’ sole purpose is to provide faster service and entertainment to the everyday public environment, with customized application capabilities based on customer needs.

The company’s device provides a tableside ordering, custom designed EMV-certified hardware solution that enables secure transactions. Juke Slot’s lineup also features a standup touchscreen kiosk aimed at the quick service industry.

Juke Slot focuses on giving its customers more control of their operation — over their customer ordering process, over their onsite marketing and over their business processes.

For more information or to purchase Juke Slot’s software or kiosks, email


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