In this fast paced world we live in, no one has time to really stop and smell the roses. We want our information in easy to digest list form, we want our media short and to the point, and we want our crappy food as fast as possible without the impediment of human interaction. McDonald’s has been kicking this idea around for a while, but now Applebee’s and Chili’s are getting in on the action.
Soon you’ll be able to use a tablet to order your food and pay without ever having to thank a living soul or awkwardly flirt your way into a free plate of green bean fries. From Slate:
The Presto [E La Carte’s tablet] aspires to be the food-services version of the airline check-in kiosk or the ATM or the self-checkout at your local pharmacy. It makes a person’s job a computer’s job, and that cuts costs. Each console goes for $100 per month. If a restaurant serves meals eight hours a day, seven days a week, it works out to 42 cents per hour per table—making the Presto cheaper than even the very cheapest waiter. Moreover, no manager needs to train it, replace it if it quits, or offer it sick days. And it doesn’t forget to take off the cheese, walk off for 20 minutes, or accidentally offend with small talk, either.
You should be seeing tablets in your local restaurant by the end of 2014, but the whole thing raises quite a few questions. Do these tablets have heart and soul? Can they attempt to talk you into drunkenly ordering from the dessert menu? It all rings a little disingenuous to me. Is a tablet going to tell a cook to spit in my food? I think not and these are the things we will miss.
The restaurants deny that the tablets represent an attempt to replace human employees with computers. Applebee’s is saying that it won’t change its staffing levels when the devices come online next year. And Chili’s is optimistic that the tablets will pay for themselves by bringing in extra revenue from impulse orders and at-the-table gaming. (via)
And all of these articles seem to indicate that last tidbit will allow you to ignore your family alongside the wait staff. But if you’re bringing them to Chili’s or Applebee’s, you probably didn’t give a sh*t in the first place.
I am torn between my desire to make the waitstaff feel as awkward as possible during dinner and never having to wonder what realm they traveled to with my drink order ever again. It’s a tough decision to make, so I guess that’s why these restaurants went ahead and made it for you. People can’t be bothered to wait around for their check, not when they’re busy rushing to the bathroom after dinner.
The trouble I see from this whole idea is how they are underestimating the stupidity of your average customer. The self-checkout at the grocery store is meant to be faster and more efficient, but it usually turns into a maelstrom of blinking lights and people saying “I don’t know computers.”Imagine how pissed people will get when they f*ck up their own orders and then try to blame the computer for their trouble.
And I guess the whole putting people out of their jobs in a period of economic instability is an issue as well. But if they don’t care enough to refill my drink for the eighteenth time, why should I care about their starving children or crippling debt at home?
My real fear is I don’t know how I’ll ever meet future wife number two if they replace all the waitresses with tablets. Do I have to eat at Denny’s? F*ck that.
And just imagine how this scene from Talladega Nights would’ve panned out if Reese Bobby didn’t have a waitress to lash out against. Movie ruined.
(Lead image via gettyimages)