Wow Bao: Case Study where Computers Outperform Humans

I like going to Wow Bao.  Granted, I have a bias toward all foods Asian or Asian-influenced, but I also find the service fast, the restaurants fun, and the price right. Being in the technology field, I was certainly happy to have the Wow Bao app on my iPhone for ordering a take out lunch at the end of a meeting, or cruising up to the kiosks right outside the restaurant when the queue at the registers was even as short as 5 people deep.

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The more and more I engaged with the kiosks, the more I found the benefits of them – both for me as a customer and them as a company.

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For me, I like the fact that if I swipe my credit or debit card first, it remembers previous orders I made with that card. No, I  don’t find it creepy, I find it convenient. Do I care if the world knows that I love their dumpling noodle soup with chicken dumplings or their Thai curry chicken bowl with couscous? No.

For them?  I have never seen a better cross-selling system. Scanning any menu board and making up your mind if you might want to try something different while talking to the person at the POS system is not easy. Especially when you are hungry and there are other anxious hungry people behind you. This scanning and selecting is so easy at the kiosk as it displays large, colorful pictures of their items plus all their variants. Who knew the Thai curry chicken bowl not only comes on rice and couscous, but also nappa cabbage, low mein noodles….

Also, once I made my selection I was immediately shown a few (note, few, not 10) upgrade options – more meat, more veggies. Who doesn’t think they need more veggies in their life?  I quickly tapped on the more veggies option without pausing a beat. $2 more for Wow Bao.  I personally skip all the drink options, but you can so quickly and easily add more items to your order, that I am convinced this is a situation where computers beat out humans in terms of making a bigger sale.

I may need to go to Social Media week to get my answers on how well the kiosks are really doing, as Geoff Alexander of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises is on their advisory board.


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6 Responses to “Wow Bao: Case Study where Computers Outperform Humans”

  1. Andy.Kajmowicz →
    February 6, 2014 at 7:53 pm #

    Great post, im with you 100% since the introduction of self checkout lines at the grocery I can count the times I’ve used a human to checkout on one hand. The problem with some of these kiosks is that the convenience can be completely sabotaged by the wrong person trying to use them. There may need to be a certification process required before people are allowed to use them. Have you ever had to call your children or siblings for advice on how to: Attach a file to an email or connect to a wifi network? If so then you may need to move down to aisle 7

  2. Karol Czyrka →
    February 6, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

    I do appreciate a good self checkout, although I know the Jewel near me removed them due to an increase in theft. And, I am not saying ALL kiosks are good, I just wanted to highlight one that I think works really well.

  3. Christa
    February 7, 2014 at 3:32 am #

    Amen to the kiosks that work well! So many grocery story self-checkout lines are riddled with non-user friendly issues. The computer freaks out when I try to use my own bag or an item isn’t the weight the system was expecting and next thing you know, they assume I’ve stolen a cucumber.

    Bravo to the kiosks that work and eliminate the need for me to talk to a human!

  4. Sharon
    February 7, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

    Love the kiosks. But I do like the option, because (to Andy’s point), there are sometimes folks trying it out for the first time cause it looks like a neat idea. There’s a Walgreens up by The Second City area that only has self-serve checkouts. Eh, I don’t know about that. But the Wow Bao kiosks are definitely my go-to when I’m jonesin’ for a meat-filled doughy pocket of goodness.

  5. Nathan K
    February 28, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

    I’ve used a self-checkout maybe once because the normal human-powered checkout is still easier and requires a minimal amount of effort on my part.

    Whether or not self-checkout is actually easier, the perceived effort is greater than the perceived benefit.

  6. Karol Czyrka →
    March 3, 2014 at 8:23 am #

    Interesting that you perceive it easier to deal with the human checkout line; I think they are just using the same kiosk and that I am eliminating any room for error.