There is a vicious Internet rumor going around that the days of waiters and waitresses are numbered. We could be as extinct as the dinosaur, the dodo bird or Whitney Houston’s vocal chords. According to a CNN article, the newest craze in the restaurant world are tablets that allow customers to place their own orders that will be sent directly to the kitchen thus eliminating the need a for a real live human server to talk to you. I assume these tablets do not require tips. According to the article, the tablets also provide games to help pass the time while waiting for your food and they even accept payment. Does this mean that my career is soon over? Twenty restaurants on the West Coast (rumored to be Applebee’s) will be implementing these tablets soon. I guess if it takes off, then the tablets will sweep across the country rendering my ass out of job within a few months. But won’t customers miss the warm personal interaction that they receive from a human being? This brings up many concerns:
- Customers cannot ask a tablet for its personal opinion on the special soup of the day. Will a tablet tell you that the creamy spinach soup tastes like ass?
- When you find a hair in your food, you really want to have a waitress to blame for it.
- If all orders are taken by the device, who will the cooks bitch at when they fuck up an order?
- If you go into an Applebee’s with your toddler, you expect him to be served a margarita instead of apple juice. Will a tablet do that? I don’t think so.
- What about senior citizens who can’t even operate a DVR remote control? How in the hell are they supposed to figure out how to use a tablet to order a cup of extra hot decaf, a water with no ice and a bowl of chicken soup with no salt? And who will bring them their mug of hot water so they can rinse the silverware before they use it?
- Will dirty old men still feel the need to grab the ass of the tablet whenever it bends over to pick up something off the floor?
- If there are no waiters, who will be responsible for wiping down these dirty sticky tablets at the end of the day?
- How are tablets going to wear skid-resistant shoes from Payless?
- Who will drunk older women flirt with if all they have is a battery-operated device that can service all their needs? Oh, wait. Forget that one.
- What will happen when the tablets break down? And you know they will break down. Any restaurant turns into a cluster fuck when the computers go down for even a second, so what will customers do in this dire situation?
- If there are no waiters, who will managers suppress?
- How will a tablet take an undercooked burger back to the kitchen even though the customer asked for it medium rare and then ask the cooks to please burn the fuck out of the patty until it resembles a goddamn hockey puck?
These are things that must be kept in mind before we turn our restaurants over to the world of technology. Servers have an important role in restaurants that maybe some big corporations are forgetting. Customers like the feeling of being taken care of and a electronic tablet will simply not serve that need. We servers are there to treat our guests with respect and to make sure their dining experience is a good one. Our customers deserve the attention that only a human being can give them. A tablet will only offer a cold and impersonal experience to diners. For me personally, if a customer is going to have cold impersonal meal dealing with a machine that doesn’t give a shit about them or what they order, I want to be that machine that provides them with that experience. Call me old-fashioned, but I care.
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