Have you ever watched the clerk at a fast food place or a server at a mid-level restaurant? They use touch-screen computers to send the orders to the kitchen, track inventory, compute bills, etc.
In a world in which so many people have tablets and smartphones, there is no reason customers cannot do this work themselves. It may take some getting used to, but good design with smooth interfaces should make it all work with the result that window clerks and servers will be less in demand as they are replaced by touch screens.
It is happening gradually now [ht Jack]:
If it pays to use touch screens on a partial level, watch for it to become even more prevalent for ALL transactions, especially if the minimum wages for food-service workers are raised by gubmnt.
Get ready to order dessert at Chili’s on a tablet–just look out for your sticky fingers. Brinker, which owns and operates the Chili’s and Maggiano’s brands, will be installing tablets on each table in its 823 operated Chili’s restaurants by March 2014, though the company says its servers will play a critical role in its new wireless experience.
Those tablets, provided by Texas firm Ziosk, will allow customers to order drink refills and desserts as well as play interactive games in what is an overall “reimaging” of Chili’s restaurants’ design, says Krista Gibson, senior vice president of brand strategy at Brinker International.
What you can’t do, at least initially, is order appetizers and your main course.
Restaurants make more money when customers can order dessert and coffee and then get out of there faster, and the Ziosk allows customers to pay by credit card on the tablet. A green LED light then notifies the serving staff that a group has paid and can leave without fuss. In tests, Chili’s found that half of customers opted to pay through the device and even more during busy workweek lunch hours.
But the device is supposed to really make money when groups, especially families, pay $0.99 to play games like trivia on the device while they sit. The system pays for itself, Mulinder says, if enough guests, at least a tenth of customers, opt into such “premium” content.