Wendy’s is planning to install self-ordering kiosks in around 1,000 locations nationwide by the end of 2017. The 1,000 locations represent about 16% of Wendy’s 6,500 locations. Wendy’s Chief Information Officer David Trimm expects the return on this investment to come in less than two years through increased sales and labor cost savings.

Wendy's
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Wendy’s kiosks to pay for themselves in two years

Higher-volume restaurants will be given priority for the kiosks. The Columbus Dispatch reports that a typical location will get about three kiosks. Kiosks have already been installed at several central Ohio locations where the fast food company first tested the technology.

According to Trimm, the kiosks are intended to reduce labor costs and appeal to younger customers. Trimm says kiosks come at a price of $15,000, and he expects the kiosks to pay for themselves after two years. During peak dining hours, they will enable customers at the fast food giant to circumvent long lines while increasing kitchen production.

Company spokeswoman Heidi Schauer said demand for the technology is very high at higher-volume stores. Though the kiosks will be installed in high-traffic locations, franchise operators will have the final decision on whether to install them or not.

Kiosks to serve two main purposes

The kiosks will serve two main purposes. The first is to appease younger customers by giving them an ordering experience that they prefer, while the second is to reduce labor costs. The kiosks are also valued by the fast food giant for their ability to provide data about customers, notes Business Insider.

Darren Tristano, vice president with Technomic, a food service research and consulting firm, said, “They are looking to improve their automation and their labor costs, and this is a good way to do it. They are also trying to enhance the customer experience. Younger customers prefer to use a kiosk.” T

ristano said this move puts the Ohio-based company at the forefront of the kiosk and tech movement.

Mobile ordering is the future

Tristano predicts that payment via smartphones and mobile ordering will one day overtake cash registers and self-ordering kiosks, but for now, customers who prefer a conventional experience will still be able to order fast food at the counter at the 1,000 affected locations. In addition, the fast food giant said that half of its locations will have a mobile ordering option by the end of 2017.