Tablets Replacing Waiters


Wed, Dec 4th, 2013 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Slate's Will Oremus, both restaurant chains Applebee and Chili are looking into replacing their wait staff by installing a tablet on every table, in every restaurant across the United States. The tablets will allow customers to "order food, pay the bill, and ignore their dining companions by playing video games." My only question is this: who is going to bring the food to your table?

Applebee's went light on details in announcing the terms of its deal, but here's how the economics of the proposition looked when Lowrey wrote about it in 2011:

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.



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