Royal Farms Bites into Fast-Food Market

BALTIMORE -- Royal Farms Stores was looking for a competitive advantage over the hundreds of other foodservice retailers it competes against daily at its 101 convenience stores in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. The Baltimore-based retailer found what it was looking for with InterMedia Kiosks.

Foodservice sales at Royal Farms increased by 20 percent since the chain began installing touchscreen kiosks to help speed up customer transactions. Positioned at Royal Farms' Kings Kitchen counters where customers can order dozens of foodservice items using the kiosks, the installation of the kiosks has enabled Royals Farms to increase sales because suggestive selling significantly increased average order size. The ordering systems also improved labor productivity, order accuracy and food consistency.

"The kiosks are wonderful labor-saving, sales-building and food-cost-reducing systems because all kitchen labor energies are focused on preparing the order rather than taking it," says John Kemp, executive vice president for Royal Farms. Food orders, along with their portion sizes, are printed on receipts for kitchen employees. Kemp adds that this creates less food waste, thereby reducing food costs between 5 percent and 10 percent.

Michael Johns, vice president of sales for InterMedia Kiosks, said suggestive selling and marketing messages are programmed into the software to help ticket averages and accelerate the return on investment. "The software prompts customers to add additional condiments to a deli sandwich or upgrade to a combination meal. Since installing the kiosks, combo meals have increased by over 300 percent," he said.

The InterMedia kiosks also have bilingual capabilities allowing Royal Farms to accept and process orders in both English and Spanish. Pictures and voice-overs also help customers who are functionally illiterate to navigate through the ordering system, Kemp said.

"Not having to wait in line significantly reduces walk-away customers," Kemp said. "As kitchen employees process the orders, customers can pre-pay or do additional shopping. This is extremely convenient for the customer and captures additional store sales for the retailer."

To speed the checkout process, Royal Farms and Verifone are working on interfacing and integrating the kiosk and POS systems to allow the cashier to simply punch in the customers' order number instead of entering each item.