Design Observation: Burger King
Last updated: Sep 24, 2019
In the 30 minutes I sat behind the Burger King self-service kiosks, I watched 45 people interact with them in one way or another. It looks like the kiosks were added after the space was built, but the three units are placed so that they directly face anyone who comes through the front door. There is a small space to the left of the kiosk that someone would have to walk through to get to the purchase line or to walk past the line to the pickup area. The way they are placed feels confrontational. The kiosk itself is tall and white—completely bare apart from the screen on it and the credit card machine at the bottom of it.
Of the 45 people who walked in the door, 27 chose to walk past the kiosks to the line. 18 used the kiosk, and most took between 1 and 2 minutes to finish with it. One took 6 minutes. A lot of the people who used the kiosk had their phones out, but of those only a few used their phone to pay. Most took out wallets.
The kiosks are only one part of the larger system of interaction here that also includes the purchase line and pickup area. Several people walk past the kiosks and then come back to them—an increasing number as the restaurant fills up. There’s no division between purchase lines and no line at the pickup area. There’s no indication of which numbers have been called or which are next. The pickup area is indicated by six separate signs in four different styles.
Some people clearly had trouble with the kiosks. I watched someone walk past them to sit down at a table and clip a coupon, which could not be used at the kiosk. I watched some kids try to work out the same thing and when they asked an employee for help, he pointed them towards the purchase line. I watched a couple people tap a broken kiosk before moving to another kiosk or to the main line, and I watched someone try the kiosks for a while, walk to the main line, then walk back to the kiosks, then leave.
Potentially as a result of the organizational state of the rest of the restaurant, the kiosks function for some people like a menu or a holding area. Three or four of the people I observed browsed the kiosk and then went to the main purchase line. I think the goal of the kiosks is to replace purchase line employees, or at least take pressure off the purchase line, but given that about 2 in 3 customers breezed by the kiosks, I don’t think they’re doing this job effectively. It seems like they have been placed to solve issues of organization and have come with their own difficulties.