Digital transformation has created a revolution of change in fast-casual dining and Ziosk is at the heart of it all. Ziosk has taken advantage of an inherent problem: in a dining sector where speed and efficiency is key, the process of checking out can be onerous. For an industry that is widely known to be a late-comer to the technology revolution, the Ziosk implementation numbers are staggering: Ziosk’s 170,000 deployed tablets represents 95% of the tabletop tablets space as the company’s tablets are now used in 3,000 restaurants across all 50 states. The company has estimated that in 2016, there will be 750 million Ziosk users and an estimated $8 billion worth of transactions.  What started out as a check-out improvement product has grown into a hub for several massive restaurant chains (Chili’s, Applebee’s, Olive Garden, Friendly’s, Red Robin, Uno Pizzeria) to optimize a multitude of business problems.
Ziosk’s underlying technology supports a business model helps restaurants:
- Improve Check-out Time – Ziosk tablets eliminate the wait for a human server and thus shave roughly 5 minutes off each meal. Diners don’t have to ask for the bill or wait for change.  Quicker meals results in more satisfied customers as well as the ability for restaurants to turn more tables.
- Increase Loyalty – Restaurants have found Ziosk tablet users are 10x more likely to enroll in a restaurant’s loyalty club. 
- Collect More Accurate Guest Satisfaction Surveys – Before Chili’s introduced Ziosk tablets in 2014, they received ~1% response rate from customer surveys (customers were directed to the Chili’s website on their paper receipts). However, Ziosk has increased the response rate to 25% which has allowed for a bigger set of feedback data as well as a more evenly skewed dataset rather than extremes.  Furthermore, Ziosk provides their restaurant chain customers with reports that analyzes the data.
- Increase Ticket Sizes – Chili’s (which only uses Ziosk for drink and dessert orders) has found that Ziosk has led to a 20% increase in dessert sales, as the screen continuously entices the customers with pictures of featured desserts. 
- Increase Tips – Ziosk tablets have a default suggested tip amount of 20% (a strategy widely used by NYC taxis) which has led to a 15% increase in tip amounts, despite less interaction with and less reliance on the waiter. 
- Increase Security – According to Verizon’s 2014 Data Breach Investigation Report, restaurants contribute greatly to point of sale fraud in the US. With the Ziosk tablet, the credit card never leaves the hand of customer and the account information is instantly encrypted once it is swiped. 
Ziosk is also taking advantage of technology to drive its operating model:
- Revenue-Share Gaming – Ziosk is connected to Android’s app store where it has a selection of kid-friendly games for $0.99 for unlimited use. All revenue which is generated from the games is shared with the restaurant. With a high percentage of Ziosk tablet users playing games, restaurants have the ability for earn back a significant portion of Ziosk’s monthly service fee. Games also drive business to the restaurants as children often request to return to restaurants that have Ziosks. 
- Partnerships – Besides partnering with restaurants, Ziosk has also partnered with several technology companies to drive business. Ziosk negotiated a partnership between Chili’s and Uber where diners get a $20 credit for transportation.  Likewise, Ziosk has partnered with Samsung Pay to give the diner $5 off their bill of $10+ if they use Samsung Pay. 
While Ziosk was founded to decrease wait time and improve the check-out experience, I believe the company has taken the right approach by not trying to eliminate the server. Eliminating the server would be met with high resistance and adoption would be less likely. Instead, Ziosk has created a value-add for restaurants in trying to solve other business problems such as loyalty, satisfaction surveys, ticket sizes & tips, and security. Going forward, I believe Ziosk should further invest in their data collection and analyzation capabilities. On Ziosk’s website, the company states, “Through another proprietary tool, zData™, Ziosk provides daily, weekly and monthly reports on sales, server performance and guest satisfaction to help you run your business.”  The restaurant industry is becoming more and more interested in big data analytics, and Ziosk’s ticket size and customer satisfaction data is extremely valuable to its clients.
 “Tabletop Tech Helps Diners Pass, Save Time”, Anne Reed, www.news-press.com – Part of the USA Today Nework, January 7, 2016.
 “Chili’s Has Installed More Than 45,000 Tablets in Its Restaurants”, Megan Garber, The Atlantic, June 16, 2014.
 “Olive Garden to Introduce Ziosk Tabletop Tablets”, Olive Garden Press Release, www.prnewswire.com, April 14, 2015.
 “At Chili’s, Tablets Help Wait Staff Turn Over Tables, Mohana Ravindranath, The Washington Post, June 29, 2014.
 “That Table on the Restaurant Table Will Make You Spend More”, Vanessa Wong, www.bloomberg.com, September 17, 2013.
 “Tablets To Provide Secure Payments In US Restaurants”, Robert Vamosi, Forbes, February, February 19, 2015.
 “Eating at Chili’s Can Now Get You a Free Uber Ride Home”, Benjamin Snyder, Fortune, March 12, 2015.
 “Chili’s Tablets Dine on Data to Boost Service”, Clint Boulton, The Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2014.
 “Hi, I’m a Tablet. I’ll Be Your Waiter Tonight.”, Stephanie Strom, The New York Times, June 20, 2014.