DUBLIN, Ohio - Wendy’s (WEN) says it plans to install self-ordering kiosks at about 1,000 locations by the end of the year.
A typical location would have three kiosks, The Columbus Dispatch reported. Higher-volume restaurants will be given priority for the kiosks.
Wendy’s Chief Information Officer David Trimm said the kiosks are intended to appeal to younger customers and reduce labor costs. Kiosks also allow customers of the fast-food giant to circumvent long lines during peak dining hours while increasing kitchen production.
Trim estimates the company will see a return on its investment in less than two years.
“They are looking to improve their automation and their labor costs, and this is a good way to do it,” said Darren Tristano, vice president with Technomic, a food-service research and consulting firm. “They are also trying to enhance the customer experience. Younger customers prefer to use a kiosk.”
Kiosks are also valued by the Dublin, Ohio-based company for their ability to provide data about customers.
“This move puts them at the forefront of the kiosk and tech movement,” Tristano said.
Wendy’s has already installed kiosks at several central Ohio locations, where the company first tested the technology.
Customers will still be able to order at the counter for now, although Tristano predicts that mobile ordering and payment via smartphones will one day overtake self-ordering kiosks and cash registers.