After years of working with various QSR restaurants types, the Vispero team noticed industry-wide themes regarding the customer experience. Upon further review, we highlighted three essential requirements for fast-casual, quick-service (QSR) restaurants to provide an inclusive customer experience.
There are several common accessibility points of failure related to servicing customers. Some troublesome areas include static digital signage, printed or digital menus, mobile applications, websites, and in-person self-service kiosks. Below are three significant areas that impact the in-person dining experience and may serve as service barriers for people with disabilities.
#1 Build an accessible self-service ordering kiosk
The first thing to remember when developing and deploying an accessible self-service ordering kiosk is to focus on creating a simple user experience. This experience should accommodate all types of users with varied abilities, needs, and demographics. When creating the kiosk application, do not assume any level of skill, literacy, familiarity with technology, or the ability to process complex options or information.
More specifically, consider these features and design suggestions.
- Being able to change the voice speed is critical for supporting beginner and advanced users. Select a screen reader (such as JAWS Kiosk) that provides the option to easily speed up and slow down the voice speed.
- Using images is essential to support users with cognitive disabilities or language barriers. Appropriately labeling images is also necessary to increase efficiency for users who are blind or have low vision. It is important to mark images as decorative if they do not add useful information that’s critical for placing an order or making a selection.
- Speed matters when it comes to the amount of time it takes to complete the task. Anything in the process or application that does not improve efficiency and increase the task completion time should be reconsidered and eliminated.
- It is not enough for the kiosk to be accessible; the payment portion of the transaction must also be accessible. If the payment is being processed on a peripheral device or card reader, that process and device must also be accessible.
#2 Use accessible alternative menus
Print menus were, until only recently, a singular point of failure for restaurant ordering accessibility. The primary alternative to a print menu was often a Braille printed menu. Unfortunately, these menus were often difficult to maintain, as menus can change seasonally, and keeping up with a Braille copy could prove challenging due to resources and cost. However, as a direct result of COVID, we have seen many restaurants adopting an online menu-only policy, which is typically accessed via QR code. This new method presents some challenges for accessibility, given that users who are blind or who have low vision need a way to find and capture the QR code. Some methods for improving QR code accessibility include:
- Add Braille to the area near the QR code.
- Make sure that the QR code has a tactile frame that identifies the area for camera focus
- QR code should lead to a website that is accessible. The menu that is pulled up must be navigable and readable via a screen reader.
#3 Make Tabletop order tablets accessible
Some restaurants include tabletop tablets that allow visitors to place an order or add items to an existing order. These tablet kiosks are also used to check out and add a tip; some tabletop tablets even allow users to request assistance from a member of the wait staff. However, tablets are typically not designed to be accessible for users with disabilities. In one case, an agreement was reached between Applebee’s Grill and Bar, E la Carte tabletop kiosk, National Federation of the Blind, and Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired of San Francisco to make the E la Carte tabletop kiosk solution accessible.
Nothing replaces training restaurant staff and increasing employee awareness on how to interact with people with disabilities, but due to staff turnover and training logistics, structurally accommodating people with disabilities is generally more reliable when it comes to delivering an accessible dining experience.
Additionally, by using accessible digital technologies (rather than relying on the human element) to improve the QSR restaurant experience for customers with disabilities, restaurants can create a scalable, maintainable, accessible customer experience.
Whether you intend to open a new restaurant or are focused on improving your customers’ experience by adding self-service kiosks, you need to ensure that your customer experience is inclusive.
Speak with a TPGi kiosk accessibility expert about your self-ordering kiosk project today!
Register for a webinar on Setting the Table for Accessibility: Creating inclusive experiences for QSR/Restaurant Customers.