Sound the death knell for waiters at Applebee’s because the chain announced on Tuesday that they will be installing a tablet on every table at all 1,860 stores in the U.S. These tablets will let customers order food, play video games and pay their checks because, really, in this day and age, do we even need human interaction at all anymore?
Of course the restaurant chain is saying that staffing levels will not change but who believes that? If a customer can look at a picture of a three-cheese chicken penne and then touch the screen and have that food arrive at their table ten minutes later, what the hell is the waiter for? Are we supposed to believe that Applebee’s is going to keep servers on the payroll just out of the goodness of their hearts? And customers aren’t going to be tipping computers so unless Applebee’s is going to increase the server pay rate to $17 an hour, I think servers will soon be a thing of the past at Applebee’s just like the Crispy Orange Chicken and Stuffed Ravioli with Chicken and Spinach that were recently removed from the menu much to the chagrin of many customers according to Applebee’s Facebook page.
The company says that they have found using tablets cuts wait times and encourages people to spend more on appetizers. Well, of course it cuts wait times, because there is no silly server wasting precious time saying things like, ‘How are you tonight?” and “Thank you for coming in.” And is it any surprise that people spend more money when they can just touch a picture of food that they like? Good luck to the kitchen on preparing food that looks just like the photograph that was taken in a professional studio with lighting and a dozen food stylists on hand. I’m sure that Jose will give just as much attention to his version of the Savory Cedar Salmon. Applebee’s also says that they have found that people leave bigger tips when ordering off a tablet. Yeah, right. Sure they do. On the plus side, customers can no longer blame their server when the food comes out wrong. They can blame their own greasy little fingers for touching the wrong picture of dessert.
“Excuse me, we didn’t order this Triple Chocolate Meltdown, we ordered the Blue Ribbon Brownie!”
“Well, bitch according to your browser history, you ordered the Triple Chocolate Meltdown, so shut the fuck up and enjoy. it.”
And can we talk about the actuality of having these tablets on the table? How disgusting will they become and who’s sidework is it going to be to swab them down with antibacterial wipes? If gaming is allowed on them, I can only imagine how many children are going to be running their snotty little hands all over them. And if there is only one tablet on the table and there are three kids, what will the other two be doing while one of them is playing Candy Crush. My guess is that the other two will be crying about how it’s their turn to play. I also have some concern for those folks who are technologically challenged. If someone can’t figure out how to answer the other line of their cell phone without hanging up on the other person, how in the hell are they ever going to learn how to order a Fiesta Chicken Chopped Salad with no red peppers but extra onions with the black bean corn salsa on the side?
Who knows? Maybe this is the direction that restaurants are going. Will we soon be put out to pasture grazing among other notable has-beens like cassette tapes, rotary phones and Joyce Dewitt? Is it only a matter of time before waiters and waitresses are ancient relics? (Hold up, I think I am an ancient relic…) Only time will tell, but in the meantime, Applebee’s will be rolling out their new plan in 2014. Tell me your thoughts and also, why not head over to Applebee’s Facebook page and tell them your thoughts too? If you go there, make sure you tell them that the Bitchy Waiter sent you.