Faster Food: How Touch Screens Are Changing the Way We Order Food


We all have our favorite fast-food joints. We all know the drill: get in line, tell the person at the counter what your order is, pay, and then receive your food. It’s a process that is almost second nature to many. But there are those times when you receive the wrong order. Most of the time, the human element is to be blamed. You can say that you were misheard; the other side will say that you didn’t speak clearly. Whatever the reason is, this will be seen as a point of error.

But the touch screen display is slowly creeping into consumers’ consciousness now. Popular fast-food chains already have many of these installed in different branches. These serve as the first point of contact for customers. They can help reduce the risk of error in the ordering process. For companies that specialize in analyzing and managing risks for businesses, this can be included as detail in one of their enterprise risk management or ERM modules.

Let’s take a look at how this technology changes the way we order food.

How Do Touch Screens Work?

The main components of this device are:

  • Display. This shows the graphics, like the menu or order details.
  • Touch panel. This receives the input (taps or swipes) from the user.
  • Controller. This interprets the signal coming from the touch panel and converts it to instructions that the software can understand.
  • Software. This accepts and executes instructions from the controller and outputs results to the display.

For the touch panel, these two are the most used:

  • Resistive. This has two conductive panels separated by a bit of space or insulating membrane with an array of conductive points. Pressing onto it will cause the layers to conduct an electric signal. This only allows for one point of contact.
  • Capacitive. An insulating panel is wrapped in a thin conductive material. The electrical conductivity of the hand will cause an electrostatic distortion. It is this distortion that will be seen by the controller as a signal. It allows for multiple points of contact otherwise known as multi-touch. This is the panel-type used by most smartphones.

How Do Touch Screens Help Improve the Ordering Process?

Man using phone

For starters, they let the customer be closer to the menu. Some people have poor eyesight and rely on the cashier to dictate the menu to them. Eliminating the space between them and the selection solves this problem. They can now have a closer look at the menu.

Orders will be more accurate. You know that feeling when you want to take time with your order but can’t. With the touch screen, the customer will feel more relaxed when checking the menu. Having a touch screen system effectively transforms the ordering experience into parallel processes. It isolates the decision making of the customer, which can be seen here as a bottleneck in the process. The cashier can then just focus on receiving the payment and completing the order.

Having more of these kiosks means that you can have more customers picking their orders at the same time. You can have the same number of people manning the counters, and you will still have an increased number of orders.

Touch-screen kiosks are here to stay. They make ordering food convenient and faster. Expect more of these to pop up in various fast-food establishments. See if you have one near you.

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