Arizona Restaurant Survives Minimum Wage Hikes with Self Ordering Kiosk

Birmingham Alabama, Sept. 13, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) —

Hanna Nilsson wants to share the success of her Beaver Choice restaurant with her employees, rewarding them with larger raises.

Verbal praise has to do for now. A spike in Arizona’s minimum wage – and a major mandated jump in server earnings – makes spreading more of the wealth a financial struggle.

“It puts pressure on restaurants to keep prices low and, at the same time, pay people more,” Nilsson said. “That’s really tough.”

Arizona restaurateurs, unlike many other states requiring raises for the lowest earners, are enduring multiple blows as a result of state legislation.

The minimum wage didn’t just jump from $8.05 to $10 an hour. While servers can be paid $7 an hour, if their tips fall short of the new minimum, their employer must make up the difference so that they, too, are guaranteed $10 an hour.

In addition, employers with fewer than 15 employees, like Beaver Choice, must provide each worker 24 hours of paid sick time a year. The problem with that, some expect, is that the time will be used as vacation and with little or no notice to the restaurant.

Against the proverbial ropes, Beaver Choice is fighting back with self-serve tabletop kiosks it soon will bring online. The devices, manufactured by technology firm Juke Slot, are anticipated to be game-changers for the restaurant.

“As wages, expenses and other operational costs continue to rise, kiosks are perfect solutions for stemming the financial tide,” said Grace Vasa, Juke Slot CEO. “While there are critics who see this type of technology as a negative to the workforce, it’s a perfect means for helping businesses maintain their financial footing and keeping workers employed.”

Beaver Choice, which features a cuisine of Polish, Swedish and Canadian food, has come a long way – literally – to Arizona. It began several years ago in Canada in what, Nilsson said, was North America’s first food truck.

Looking for warmer conditions, she moved the operation to Mesa, settling into a permanent structure.

The American approach to dining is drastically different than anything Nilsson has seen in all her years in the field. Diners in the States generally want – and expect – food that is cheap and fast.

The desire forced Nilsson to change the restaurant’s approach.

“I had no clue how to solve this problem of speedy service,” she said. “With kiosks, I thought, ‘Maybe we should have them.’ This would solve the whole thing.”

At a glance

Juke Slot’s kiosks act like virtual servers comprised of a great deal artificial intelligence. The company’s multifaceted devices, measuring 8 inches by 5 inches, weigh less than 2 pounds and features a 7-inch high-resolution touch screen display.

Its Android-based software is customizable, meaning users can tailor the interface to their needs. A restaurant not only can display its menu on the screen, but also can allow customers to configure meals to their liking.

The solution is built with versatility in mind. The units allow diners sitting at tables to place their orders through the device, which connects wirelessly to the restaurant’s main point-of-sale system and kitchen displays, sending their request directly to the cooks.

Having customers taking charge of the ordering process also minimizes errors, as they clearly see what they’re requesting.

The device is built to function as a portable point-of-sale system or operate as an additional system separate the current POS, allowing customers use the machine from the start of their visit to the finish. Customers can make secure electronic payments – by either swiping their card, keying in their card’s numbers and even scanning their smart phone – and receive a printed receipt.

Units can be designed to include advertising and popular game play, enabling customers to occupy their wait times competing – for a nominal fee – against the computer or other in-house players. The setup then becomes an additional revenue stream for the business.

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