Touchscreen windowpanes empower self-service ordering

How a pair of technology enthusiasts in Sweden came up with a way to allow customers to place orders on a restaurant windowpane, sparing them from having to wait in a line indoors, a chore that has become all too common with social distancing rules.


Sushishop customers access the touchscreen through the windowpane.

Social distancing has become a way of life for people all over the world, but it doesn't have to stop them from enjoying a meal from their favorite restaurant.

A pair of technology enthusiasts in Sweden recently came up with a way to allow customers to place orders on a restaurant windowpane, sparing them from having to wait in a line indoors, a chore that has become all too common thanks to social distancing rules.

Aleksandar Goga, CEO of ClickSys, a Sweden based software provider, and Alexander Zivkovic, sales director for Northern Europe for Elo, a touchscreen manufacturer, were standing in line to order food at a Stockholm sushi restaurant.

They made use of their spare time by brainstorming ways to help the restaurant, Sushishop, reduce customer wait time. They envisioned a touchscreen that customers could access through the windowpane from outside the restaurant.

"When we started thinking about how we could help Sushishop quickly receive orders via a screen, we realized there wasn't a natural place for it anywhere inside of the restaurant where consumers would feel comfortable during this time," Goga told Kiosk Marketplace via email. "I asked Alexander if Elo had a touchscreen that could work through the windowpane."

Goga and Zivkovic reasoned that a touchscreen accessible from outside the store would allow customers to wait outside rather than the crowded inside.

Finding a solution

The two met again at the restaurant with an Elo touchscreen in hand. They held the touchscreen up against the outdoor windowpane, and they concluded that if the touchscreen were mounted tightly against the windowpane inside the store, customers could actually make impressions on it by touching the windowpane from the outside.

The pair convinced the store's owner, Mikael Shaaya, to install a 22-inch Elo open-frame touchscreen powered by ClickSys' self-checkout software. They installed the touchscreen in early April.

Shaaya has been pleased by the customers' response to the solution, as customer use of the touchscreen has increased since over the past few months.

Guests respond favorably

"The guests are happy that they don't have to crowd inside the restaurant — instead, both the ordering and delivery of their food happen outside, so they can continue to eat their favorite sushi at their leisure!" Shaaya said in a prepared statement.

The ordering process allows guests to keep a safe distance from each other along the restaurant's sidewalk as they wait for their orders. Guest are instructed to wait near the door of the restaurant or in their car and wait to be notified when their order is ready.

Guests have the option of receiving their orders outside without having to enter the restaurant, giving them the ability to control their experience. Since they are notified by text message, they can go for a walk, run errands or wait in their car. They can pay with their mobile devices.

There is no payment card reader on the kiosk — all payments are done through mobile, which is very common in Sweden.

Figuring out the angle against the windowpane to make the ordering experience easy and safe for the consumer was a trial and error process, Zivkovic said.

Capacitive touchscreen technology

The solution, powered by an Elo Backpack Android compute engine, requires an open frame projected capacitive touchscreen to enable touch functionality through the glass window, Zivkovic said. The PCAP technology allows the screen to sense human touch through the window's glass. Up to 6 mm thick glass, plastic or acrylic not containing any metals can be used to protect the touchscreen.

The self-ordering software integrates with the restaurant's kitchen display system, which is also an Elo touchscreen. No orders are sent through to the kitchen before the payment transaction is completed, removing the chance for mistakes resulting in food going to waste due to wrong or uncompleted orders.

The restaurant's staff cleans the window regularly throughout the day, Zivkovic said. They also plan to offer sanitizer within reach for consumers, placed on the window with a suction cup holder.

Elo provides the Sushishop the software on an SaaS model. The only upfront costs were for the touchscreen, the stand and the compute module.

With social distancing concerns and a desire for less face-to-face interactions with restaurant staff, Sushishop has found that customers prefer to queue outdoors than in the crowded space inside.

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