Unlike other established franchises, RPS has the advantage of being conceived in a technological age where consumers expect to be able to order through a range of mechanisms, whether online, in store or at a drive thru. RPS has seized on an increasingly tech savvy population and introduced multiple ways to place and receive orders.
Tanya Gilchrist, Director of Systems and Integrations at Rock Paper Scissors, explained the benefits of empowering the customer through the self-service model, but also the impact on the Rock Paper Scissors franchise model. “As a business we want to ensure we can offer fabulous food but also create a customer experience to match. Looking at the delivery experience was and still is an integral part of our business plan. In Australia today, 65% of adults use smart phones, so tapping into that technology has been a driving force for us. By offering online ordering through a laptop, tablet and phone, means a customer can choose exactly what they want, reduce their waiting time and collect it at their convenience.”
For the franchise, the adoption of the self-serve model has resulted in a positive return in investment, proven through sales figures. The average spend in store is $14.30 but the online/drive thru option is $19.63, approximately a 35% difference between the 2 ordering mechanisms. A self-serve option also reduces staff costs both in man-hours and training.
The Initial Project- Creating the first Self Service Kiosk in Australia
In 2012, part of Rock Paper Scissors’ strategic plan included increasing the customer self-ordering options through the introduction of a self-service drive thru facility. To achieve the result, there needed to be the implementation of new software and hardware. The specifications for the hardware included:-
- Touchscreen- instrumental for a positive customer experience
- Weatherproof- due to the extreme QLD environment of heat, sun and rain the display needed to be ruggedised to meet the outdoor environment
- Integration- the display needed to work with the existing hardware and software
- Vandal proof
The shortlist for the hardware component included four outdoor touchscreen display suppliers for the drive thru screen. Tanya commented, “From our point of view we knew we were innovating a completely new way to purchase fast food within Australia, so though pricing was important to us, we were also looking for a technology partner who would add value to the process. Though APCT were not the cheapest, they were competitively priced, and certainly not the most expensive but it was there additional capabilities that really impressed us.”
Choosing a Supplier
The hardware specifications were met by a number of suppliers. However APC Technology was awarded the contract as they were not just offering an off-the-shelf solution. Tanya explained, “They took the time to understand what we wanted to do, how we planned to implement it and added their expertise based on their own business experience to ensure we reached the best outcome.”
An additional benefit of choosing APC Technology as their supplier meant local support. Tanya acknowledged that APC Technology was the only Australian manufacturer; otherwise the alternate options were either off shore manufacturers or Australian resellers for off shore suppliers. “It became apparent during the RFP period that the other suppliers could not provide us with the same reassurance on hardware support. For us, the impact of extensive downtime due to faulty or damaged hardware would significantly impact the franchise plus create uncertainty about the quality and sustainability of a self-service drive thru. As the manufacturer and their location within Australia, we felt APCT could meet the support requirements better than any other vendor.”
Return of Investment of the First Ever Self Service Drive Thru in Australia
The original drive thru installation was completed in October 2012. So has the display met expectations? “it’s bullet proof”- though don’t worry, no one has actually shot at it to prove the point! “ The set up still looks great even though it has been exposed to the Queensland rain, sun and humidity plus customer use for more than 2 years, “ explained Tanya, “ In fact, I can only recall one time it has ever been down, and in actual fact it wasn’t completely off line. There was an issue with the calibration of the touchscreen which meant some difficulties navigating the screen. Within hours we had a new driver from APCT which was uploaded and resolved the problem. The opinion of Rock paper Scissors is APC Technology met all our requirements, and the solution continues to perform at the highest level and survives- what more could we ask for?”
RPS has analysed data from the last 2 years since the original installation of the drive thru self-serve system. The data is proof that being an innovator has really paid off for Rock Paper Scissors. “If we split it into two areas, firstly revenue enhancement, we have found that the average drive thru order, in monetary value, is 24% higher than in store. The self-service option also allows 100% upsell; computers don’t forget! The 2nd area would be cost reductions resulting from the drive-thru. There is a decreased need for front of house labour and managed labour costs have been reduced by approximately 21%.” Tanya also commented on the data collated on the usage of the drive thru option and how it is now a proven success of the RPS business model, “The original drive thru store has increased its turnover by 70% in the last 2 years, and figures show the drive thru growth originally contributed to 15% of the revenue stream and is now 50%”.
2nd Generation Drive Thru Kiosk
Towards the end of 2014, Rock Paper Scissors approached APC Technology to design and build a second generation drive thru kiosk for another franchise within QLD. The company had learnt some useful lessons over the previous 2 years resulting in a change of requirements including the design and manufacture of an integrated kiosk with all the components of the system in one location. The previous version had consisted of an APCT touchscreen display connected to an existing PC located inside the restaurant. Additional requirements to be integrated into the new version included:-
- Lockable cabinet to increase security overnight
- Movement of the screen- a rotation and tilt option
- A higher rated sunlight readable touchscreen
- The addition of an audio requirement
- Stainless steel bollard set up
One of the biggest challenges was the delivery timeline given to APC Technology. “We gave them 2 months and this included the design phase, production and delivery. We knew it was a push to achieve but again APCT took on the challenge and ensured there were open communication lines on the progress”, commented Tanya. “What I found amazing is we gave them our requirements, explained what we needed and on receipt of the first round of drawings their engineering department had really nailed what we were looking for. A few minor changes were made and in a timely manner, which provided a longer build period. I really think their understanding and expertise at the beginning of the project was the reason why we got the new kiosk exactly when we wanted it. I am not sure a large company and one overseas could have achieved it.”
Return Of investment of the 2nd generation Self Service Drive Thru for RPS
The ROI has been established with the introduction of the first unit. The expectation for ongoing kiosks is to build on those figures. The ROI of the 2nd generation was to achieve the additional requirements as dictated by RPS. “As a company we are really excited to have the new kiosk installed in one of our QLD Rock Paper Scissors franchises. The feedback from our staff and customers is it looks great, it’s fast and the enhanced functionality including audio assistance makes it even more interactive and easy to use. The addition of a moving screen has also made it more accessible for our customers to reach, because often first time users don’t realise it is a touchscreen ordering system so park too far away!” The next step is to automate the movement of the screen towards the customer based on where they have parked and we’ve already figured out how to do this!
Tanya believes 2015 will be a year of significant growth for the company. The Directors are confident that they have the processes and capabilities in place to roll out another 5+ stores with the option to move into other Australian states. They are also exploring the option to grow the franchise into India. Will APC Technology be part of the journey? “Absolutely, although our businesses are poles apart we share a common trait- we are innovators within our own fields. The solutions supplied each time have met our requirements and continue to perform, that is the most important outcome for adding to the success of our business. APCT said they would provide tough solutions for tough conditions, I couldn’t agree more.”