Olo Brings Its Olo Pay Service to Fast-Food Kiosks

Restaurant technology platform Olo has begun offering card-present processing through its Olo Pay service.

The company announced the launch in a news release Thursday (July 13), part of a larger rollout of new product enhancements.

Olo says its card-present payment processing offering is available now when diners order in-store via a kiosk in partnership with Bite, a provider of self-service kiosks for quick-service restaurants. The company plans to deploy additional kiosk applications in collaboration with other providers.

“Olo Pay’s ability to process card-present payments will unify payments management and ease processes like reconciliation, voiding and refunding,” the release said. “This will also help brands to tie both in-store and online guest interactions into one guest data profile, helping restaurants better understand their guests and inform high-level business decisions.”

The company adds that this enhancement brings Olo Pay’s checkout experience to kiosks, marking Olo’s first in-store, guest-facing brand exposure. 

PYMNTS spoke with Olo CEO Noah Glass earlier this year about the possibility of a fully personalized dining experience. 

He said his company’s vision of the Restaurant of the Future, where customers are identified each step of the way and restaurants personalize the experience to their habits and preferences, is closer than people might suspect.

“Some of the more advanced things that you see there — the things that feel futuristic, like the license plate scanning or the facial recognition — those exist today,” Glass said. 

“What’s new is this idea that everything is tied back to a single guest profile, that [we can] bring forth, what [the customer has] ordered in the past, what they like, what they dislike, and we can make recommendations based on the larger data set.”

This scenario includes drive-thrus recognizing diners and personalizing menus to their preferences, and dine-in restaurants remembering guests’ food and table preferences, along with letting customers walk out without waiting for the check, thanks to their saved payment credentials. And it includes curbside pickup made more efficient due to Bluetooth recognition and saved vehicle information.

Meanwhile, PYMNTS wrote in May that quick-service restaurants were divided on the benefits of using self-service kiosks, with fast-casual burger chain Shake Shack falling firmly into the pro-kiosk camp.

“We grew in-Shack, same store sales by more than 20% year over year and more than doubled our total Kiosk sales versus last year,” CFO Katherine Fogerty told analysts on the company’s earnings call in May. “Putting kiosks into our Shacks is another key way we have identified to improve our sales and profitability, and we shared a goal last year to roll out Kiosk to nearly all Shacks by the end of 2023. We are proud to report that we are executing ahead of this timeline.”

Meanwhile, quick-service restaurant giant Restaurant Brands International, parent company of Burger King, Tim Hortons, Popeyes and Firehouse Subs, said in May that, in some cases, kiosks are already outdated. 

“In China, where the front counter POS is becoming less relevant … nearly all orders can be online channels,” CEO Josh Kobza said. “Some brands are even beginning to sunset their kiosk programs and transition entirely to mobile ordering. Whatever the format and their local markets, what is clear is that quick-service restaurants are moving toward automated ordering.”