Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Kind of Restaurant

Here's a great post from slate about a move to automate the process of ordering and paying for food.  A few years ago, I ate in a hotel restaurant in Manhattan that had a version of this, and I thought that the future had arrived...yet not a mention of it again until reading this today.

I've got nothing against waitstaff.  In general.  Just some of them.  You know, the ones who become a check valve for the whole process, who never show up to refill your iced tea?  Or the ones who show up too often, asking you after virtually every bite how everything is?  Or the ones who decide to chat you up, presuming a level of intimacy to which they are entirely un-entitled.

The only time I find myself "satisfied" with waitstaff service is if it is prompt, unobtrusive, and delivered by a fetching young lass.  Mostly, I'd rather do it myself--and this article lays that future out for all of us to behold.

Think about it.  You sit down and order food from a menu with pictures, descriptions and potentially, dietary information. No more "is there any garlic in that?".   You order drinks.  You need a glass of water?  Press the button.  All the while, the electromagnetic spectrum operates at 186,000 miles per second to deliver your desires to the humans who then process it (yes, I know--potential snag here) and then bring it to you.

Time to leave?  Well, you don't have to wait for the 17 year old to finish his conversation about a truly radical skatepark in the next county to get your tab.  You evaluate it (it has been running all the while you've ordered and ate), and then you push the button that says "process bill" (as you started the meal by swiping a credit card so that you can't play "chew and screw" or "dine and dash").

If in the course of your meal--you need a human--you push the "help" button, and then some mass of carbon and water ambles over to your table to find out what you want--and what you couldn't "free text" to the staff.  There can be an app for evaluating your meal--to enable restaurants to gather instant feedback on what they could do better.

Want to pay cash?  Surely.  Swipe a credit card to get things started and then pay in the slot at the table.  Don't have a credit card?  Well then, you don't eat.  Not computer/human machine interface literate--again, you don't get to eat.  This is a restaurant for the information age, and if you can't keep up, head over to Outback where the waitstaff will kneel down next to you and survey your life story.

H/T:  Instapundit

No comments:

Newer Post Older Post Home