A Different Kind Of Digital Server

by Dish Staff

Annie Lowrey witnesses the slow transition towards robot waitstaffs:

The advantages for the restaurant are clear. Tablets are cheaper than human waiters, even given how cheap those human waiters are. (The federal tipped minimum wage is just $2.13 an hour.) They nudge consumers to spend a little more than they would otherwise, encouraging them to get appetizers, desserts, or fancier drinks. They also reduce time spent per visit by making the ordering process quicker, leading to higher table turnover and ultimately higher revenue.

I suspect that eventually the advantages for restaurant patrons might come to outweigh the early disadvantages as well. Many of the problems I witnessed at Newark were problems of unfamiliarity. How do you use this thing? Why don’t you come help me? Where is the waiter? Over time, those questions should fade.