Shorter Lines, More Profit with A.I.-Based Self-Checkout

Published on : 10/19/23
  • In 2022, VisioLab, an AI-powered self-checkout solution for hospitality and retail locations, joined Sodexo Live!'s first North American cohort of its milestone Accelerator program. The program was designed to scale the impact of innovators working to improve the future of live events and entertainment. With a proprietary visual self-checkout and automated food recognition system, VisioLab gives Sodexo Live! clients the opportunity to focus on a better, more efficient customer experience. During a summer 2023 launch, the technology transformed the checkout experience, improving the speed of service for guests and increasing overall revenue for clients. 

    A Strategic Game Plan

    For Sodexo Live! clients across all lines of business, the core goals of deploying self-checkout technology are comparable:

    • Reduce wait times that remain a crucial pain point for guests
    • Increase speed of sale to generate additional revenue for clients
    • Deliver a differentiated guest experience

    Increasing throughput during concession rushes and high-traffic grab-and-go areas typically requires more points of sale, more staff, and disrupted fan flow. However, VisioLab's portable iPad-powered app, simple integration, and intuitive user interface automate checkout and provide 10x faster throughput without adding cashiers or hardware. Trained with a few images, VisioLab’s AI recognizes packed and unpacked items in a fraction of a second. "All guests need to do is drop everything they want to buy under the camera of our iPad, tap their card to pay, and get back to things they like more than queuing in line," explained Tim Niekamp, Co-founder of VisioLab.


    Enhancing the Guest Experience and Boosting Profits

    During the pilot program, VisioLab deployed their software in three Sodexo Live! venues: Smoothie King Center and Ernest M. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans and Louisville Slugger Field in Kentucky. "We were concerned that the staff was going to be hesitant. New technology is a little scary for people sometimes," said Borgula. "But we found that they were really receptive and enjoyed engaging with the customer. We were able to expedite checkouts during peak lunch hours while selling an enticing range of authentic New Orleans cuisine."

    In 14 days of events across three venues, 4,427 transactions and close to 10,000 items were processed using VisioLab’s self-checkout software, totaling $90,000 in revenue. "We had 99.8% accuracy, which was pretty amazing to me, said Bruce Kraus, Sodexo Live! District Manager, Caesars Superdome and Smoothie King Center. "The ease of use and the ease of programming really stood out. We were at 24- to 26-second transactions, which is pretty amazing. Most wait-in-line scenarios can get upwards to a minute and a little bit beyond that. It's pretty dramatic."

    VisioLab_CaseStudy_Stats.pngFrom country music star Zack Bryan fans to Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting attendees and National Gymnastics Association Championship competitors, users were notably impressed with the swift and seamless checkouts. 

    Low efficiency during peak times has economic consequences: More than half of customers have left a line because the wait is too long. Instead of queuing at one POS with a single cashier processing payments, one team member can monitor multiple POS and aid guests during payment. This means higher throughput and potentially higher per caps—a 2017 study found a 20% increase in order volume when using self-service concepts. By partnering with VisioLabs to pilot and advance their technology in North America, Sodexo Live! continues to shape the future of live events.

    "We are enthusiastic about pursuing this partnership further to enhance the fan experience and boost sales together," said Gernemann. "Sodexo Live! is an innovative force bringing something new to the table. We can't wait to take the next step together!"