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GreatFX Business Cards Small Business Buzz Technology Could Make Waitresses Obsolete
Small Business BuzzTechnology Could Make Waitresses Obsolete
A doubleshot of business news espresso with extra froth
Within the past ten years, most restaurants have installed touch-screens at the server work stations, for the servers to enter in the order for their tables. Now, technology has taken things one step further by recently giving restauranteurs the opportunity to put touch-screen ordering terminals at the table, replacing waiters and waitresses all together.
uWink Media Bistro, which opened in a Los Angeles area mall in October 2006, is the first of it’s kind. The restaurant was founded by Nolan Bushnell, who also founded Atari and Chuck E. Cheese’s, and he hopes to begin franchising this year.
Diners order on a touch-screen terminal at their table, and runners bring the food when it’s ready. In the interim, the terminal doubles as a video-game console to pass the time. If you need a refill on your drink, you simply touch “refill,” and 30 seconds later you have a full glass in front of you.
Lets weigh the pros and cons, shall we:
I’m sure there are more pros and cons on either side, but, based upon my thoughts, it’s fairly even. The concept isn’t entirely new either. I’ve noted a couple of patents for devices to be placed on the tables in restaurants to signal a server when the diner wants his attention, for a refill, the check, etc. I’m quite fond of that idea, since I’ve felt overlooked by a server several times.
As my husband will tell you, I’m incredibly picky about the service we receive in a restaurant. I supported myself through high school and college by waiting tables, and I know what the standard is. I have a really hard time when our waitress doesn’t meet my expectations.
However, despite my restaurant idiosyncrasies, I’m not entirely on board for taking away the personal element. That’s why I think having a server, as well as a means to let them know from a distance that you need them, would be an excellent combination.
I really think that the DIY (do-it-yourself) ordering terminals, would be right at home in a fast food restaurant, where you don’t have wait staff anyway. Instead of a cashier, you simply get in line and enter in your own order, then wait for someone to hand it to you. There wouldn’t be a large number of people losing their jobs and things would be a bit simpler for the diner.
Another possibility might be putting the terminals at half of the tables in a casual dining restaurant. That way, diners have a choice between personal service or DIY. However, I don’t believe these terminals should be placed in high-end, up-scale restaurants. Part of their atmosphere is being waited on hand-and-foot by a professional who can make recommendations for an entree or wine. Having the terminals instead would simply not be the same.
I guess part of my reserve is this slight fear in the back of my head that we’re all going to be replaced by machines someday. And I know that many people feel the same way. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have movies like I Robot or shows like Battlestar Galactica.
But, alas, the passage of time means change and with the way technology is running full speed ahead, change is all around. Sometimes we just have to learn to adjust to the small things.
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By Michelle Cramer
Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 @ 12:00 AM CDT
One Response to “Technology Could Make Waitresses Obsolete”