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Restaurants' Switch To Tablets Is Trouble
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nomii
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nomii,
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6/11/2014 | 10:49:08 AM
It will take time
@David a nice post. I think shifting to tablets was on the card for some time but I feel that it will take sometime before customers will get used to them. I doubt that it will be a roaring success but it will help at few places especially the management of the restaurant as you have mentioned. I think to have win win situation I think the management need to work out where it will be suited the most not across the board all together.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 12:00:19 PM
Re: It will take time
Thanks, Nomii. I think people will get used ot them faster than you think. There are few places these days where there aren't touch screens. But even getting used to them doesn't mean that they will work as hoped. That requires good user experience, constant updates, and makign sure your backend and the kiosk stay compatible. 
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
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6/30/2014 | 8:22:26 PM
Re: It will take time
I agree with you. The customer should have the option to use the tablet or not.
batye
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batye,
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7/1/2014 | 7:21:03 PM
Re: It will take time
agree in this case customers should have ability to get choice to use or not...
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
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7/31/2014 | 11:03:01 AM
Re: It will take time
@ batye

There will always be people who are not hip with technology. If they had no other option than using the tablet they may just go to another restaurant.
batye
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batye,
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7/31/2014 | 12:05:18 PM
Re: It will take time
yes, as to each his own way of life :)
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
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7/31/2014 | 7:51:13 PM
Re: It will take time
@ batye

Sometimes you really can't teach an old dog new tricks. 
batye
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batye,
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8/2/2014 | 11:34:35 PM
Re: It will take time
I have to disagree as many factors in play... how I see it... but this days Co. using carrot and stick approach... like discoint of 2% if customer uses self-checkout...
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
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8/31/2014 | 4:54:29 PM
Re: It will take time
@ Batye

Good point. Many company's use a "reward" system to get its customers to take advantage of new technology.
batye
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batye,
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9/9/2014 | 11:44:07 PM
Re: It will take time
@StaceyE, thank you, but with time will will know... as time will tell... how I see it...
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
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9/30/2014 | 2:10:40 PM
Re: It will take time
@ Batye

Your right as with any new technology, only time will tell if it will be accepted or rejected. I think its important to test new processes or technology before fully implementing them into any business.
batye
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batye,
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10/1/2014 | 12:34:13 AM
Re: It will take time
@StaceyE, this days almost each Co. putting on the market half cooked product with out 100% tested... as example for me would be new Apple iphone... and it bending frame :) scarry reality... of the competative market...
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
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10/31/2014 | 4:36:02 PM
Re: It will take time
@ batye

I agree that is a big problem. Many companies focus on beating other companies to the next "greatest thing ever". The result of this is exactly what you stated...a half cooked product with little or no testing. I think some companies would do much better if they put more time and testing into their products...they might actually produce the next best thing ever!
batye
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batye,
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11/1/2014 | 2:56:59 AM
Re: It will take time
@StaceyE my question would - what if... as with technology changing rapidly... Co still overlook many things... expecting product life cycle of 2 to 12 months... before upgrade... sad and scary reality...
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
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11/30/2014 | 11:33:01 AM
Re: It will take time
@ batye

It absolutely happens, and sadly company;s think if the product has a short life cycle then customers will come back for a new upgrade. Most of the time people will just look for a product that has a longer life cycle.
batye
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batye,
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12/1/2014 | 2:21:08 AM
Re: It will take time
@StaceyE, yes but at the same time everyone wants latest and greatest... plus revision of the devices

let say PS vita 1 edition have a better screen resolution if compared to PS vita 2 edition... it like trading for skinny devices with less quality... but to each his own...  
batye
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batye,
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11/1/2014 | 3:05:58 AM
Re: It will take time
@StaceyE I would like to add this days no one wants get back to basics:

1. quality of product

2. good customer service

3. proper timely warranty service....

 

everyone only want to sell it and forget it...

take a look at the car industry...

recall after recall... and car manf. fail to update customers about recalls... - sad and scary as people do die... if the car fail during road trip ( as failty wire or even brake light...) sad... sad...
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
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11/30/2014 | 11:39:36 AM
Re: It will take time
@ batye

Yes, many company's should get back to the basics. I think many times they know there is a problem with their product but just cross their fingers and hope no one else notices.
batye
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batye,
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12/1/2014 | 2:38:02 AM
Re: It will take time
@StaceyE yes, I could not agree more... but this day almost all of the Co. playing this game... and sad reality no one do really cares....
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
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8/31/2014 | 4:44:35 PM
Re: It will take time
@ Batye

Exactly, to each his own. This is important for companies to remember when bringing in new technology. Will the technology create lost customers?
batye
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batye,
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9/9/2014 | 11:43:07 PM
Re: It will take time
@StaceyE, yes, as sometimes technology could backfires and create negative impact... affecting bottom line...
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
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9/30/2014 | 2:06:42 PM
Re: It will take time
@ Batye,

It really could backfire if not implemented properly. If a store decided one day that it was going to close its doors to its brick and mortar, and sell its products striclty online, it would surely lose some business in the short run.
batye
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batye,
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10/1/2014 | 12:35:51 AM
Re: It will take time
@StaceyE, interesting point I see this process already happening in China online market... where sellers never have a brick and mortar store... but do have big online sales/profit....
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
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10/31/2014 | 4:38:33 PM
Re: It will take time
@ batye

I think companies that start out in the virtual environmet do well to stay that way. I have heard of a couple companies that have successfully opened brick and mortar locations...but haven't heard a lot of success stories of brick and mortar companies switching over to a completely virtual environment.
batye
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batye,
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11/1/2014 | 2:58:37 AM
Re: It will take time
@StaceyE yes, as everyone keep saying it the way of future... one way or other... even gov. corporation like Canada post - putting ads on tv... - shopping online and cloud :)...
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
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11/30/2014 | 11:34:53 AM
Re: It will take time
@ batye

I think company's should certainly make use of the internet to promote their products or services. But most of the time going from brick-and-mortar to completely virtual is a mistake.
batye
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batye,
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12/1/2014 | 2:33:17 AM
Re: It will take time
@StaceyE I do not know, but many factors in play... but in china online stores keep growing as everyone getting in the bzz plus drop shipping idea...
batye
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batye,
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11/1/2014 | 3:00:49 AM
Re: It will take time

 


@StaceyE last time I attended Microsoft and Intel seminars... everyone expect by 2020 not many brick & mortar store will be left... - new reality of new digital cloud future...
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
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11/30/2014 | 11:37:39 AM
Re: It will take time
@ batye

I don't think that traditional brick-and-mortar stores will ever completely disappear. There are too many people who still do not use the newest technology and there will always be items you cant wait for delivery for. For example, if my husband needs a 2 x 4 for a woodworking project he will drive to Home Depot and pick one up and be back home in less than an hour. There's no way he would want to wait two or three days for delivery.
batye
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batye,
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12/1/2014 | 2:36:30 AM
Re: It will take time
@StaceyE yes, but most stores in my area including Home Depot do not keep much inventory on hand... giving me option to order online and do pick in the store or home delivery... everyone trying to copy Amazon... - how I see it...
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
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6/11/2014 | 12:14:48 PM
Love paying this way, hate ordering
I would like to see a hybrid approach, where a human takes the initial order, based on your choice of a traditional or tablet-based menu, and then the device stays at the table to ask for refills on drinks, let kids play games if that's your thing, and then pay the check when you're ready as opposed to trying to flag down a server.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 12:17:49 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@Lorna- Seems fair enough. Though aren't you really just asking for a little bell like they have on Downton Abbey? Seems like a lot of money and IT trouble for that. 

Personally, I think this is either an all human or all self-service thing. Either you want to be about true service and a perosnal experience or you want it to be a fast food experience with a sticky table surrounding by fake antiques. 
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
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6/11/2014 | 12:33:14 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
Well, I doubt this concept will ever get into really nice restaurants. But for a casual place where your objective is to get in and out quickly with minimum grief? I can see it. Already Legal Seafoods in the Boston area uses tablets for checkout. 

Seems like the objective needs to be: What is the easiest thing FOR THE CUSTOMER. Not tech for tech's sake. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
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6/11/2014 | 12:45:01 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
Agreed about the customer. I'm just wondering what the point of going to a table service restaurant is if you get no table service. 

I assume what is going to happen in the restaurant industry is what we're going to see in university education industry soon-- a stratified system where only the wealthy can afford personal service and face to face education and the poor will watch levtures on the internet. 

We might be left with "Fancy" restaurants and "fast food" which gets extended to mid-tier restaurants that currently have servers.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 12:46:54 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
The worst part of this might be that I thought "robot repair tech" and "server" were going to be the last two jobs on earth. I guess "robot repair tech" is goign to stand alone.
TerryB
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TerryB,
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6/11/2014 | 1:03:31 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
Chili's must have been testing these for awhile because I used one of these at the one in Green Bay where I live. We had a server, I'm pretty sure we placed our order with server but I did pay for meal using the device, was curious how well it worked.

I can see the appeal to Chili's, getting kids of customers to pay for games while they wait. But I remember thinking at time what impact it would have on the server's tips.

Kind of like a buffet place like Golden Corral, do you tip the person who comes by and says to let them know if you need anything? Since I never have that person do anything for me, I never leave tip. Not that I could anyway, you already pay when you come in and all I ever carry is debit card anymore. I see this same thing happening to restaurants who go this self serve route, devalues what you were tipping for.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 1:17:02 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@TerryB- You are right. Tips will go down if they only become food runners. Plus, there will be fewer jobs. And unlike in IT when you free up time by doing things like moving into the cloud, you can;t say things like "we're freeing people up to innovate."
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
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6/11/2014 | 2:02:40 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
Chili's must have been testing these for awhile because I used one of these at the one in Green Bay where I live. We had a server, I'm pretty sure we placed our order with server but I did pay for meal using the device, was curious how well it worked.

--Chili's here had them at the table, and the kids managed to get me charged 0.99 for playing games on it, but a human took the order and I paid them too. I didn't notice if there was an option to pay on the tablet.


Kind of like a buffet place like Golden Corral, do you tip the person who comes by and says to let them know if you need anything? Since I never have that person do anything for me, I never leave tip. Not that I could anyway, you already pay when you come in and all I ever carry is debit card anymore.


--That's why they offer you cash back when you pay! I do tip at Golden Corral - not heavily, because the server does less than in a full service restaurant - but if they keep my soda refilled and keep the plates from piling up, they deserve a tip. If your servers are truly doing nothing for you at GC (e.g. plates and soda) then there's something wrong from the sounds of it!
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 3:27:07 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
--Chili's here had them at the table, and the kids managed to get me charged 0.99 for playing games on it, but a human took the order and I paid them too. I didn't notice if there was an option to pay on the tablet.


@jgherbert- They have added card readers to the side of the tablet. I think you need the server to pay in cash. But they did a bunch of tests so you may have seen a test without a card reader.
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
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6/11/2014 | 3:31:12 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
Right. It's entirely possible that the card reader was there, but since we proffered a piece of plastic to our server, they may have just processed it anyway. I really didn't use the tablet at all; the kids enjoyed playing a few games on it, then I made them put it aside to eat their meal.

It's an interesting area though. We'll always need people there to answer the non-obvious questions like "is this cooked on a grill with meat" or similar though. Just maybe a few less people.
soozyg
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soozyg,
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6/12/2014 | 11:38:49 AM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
We'll always need people there to answer the non-obvious questions like "is this cooked on a grill with meat" or similar though. 

Is there an option on the screen to signal waitstaff? That would be an interesting feature.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 11:40:17 AM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@soozyg- There is an option on the Chili's one to signal waitstaff. I assume that will be standard on all of these moving forward but I'm sure each is proprietary. 
soozyg
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soozyg,
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6/12/2014 | 11:32:49 AM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
but if they keep my soda refilled and keep the plates from piling up, they deserve a tip.

Yes! Just like any good waitstaff they should always be attentive and would theoretically earn tips this way.
jastroff
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jastroff,
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6/11/2014 | 1:55:18 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@dave - all good points! My local <fill in the blank drugstore chain> only has self-checkout. I so enjoy paying inflated prices for stuff I have to bag and lug myself. You must have been next to me at the <fill in the blank national grocery chain> when my fruit and veg purchases didn't register in the auto checkout aisle, and I was presented with a video display of fruit and veg pics. The self-check out is ok for things which are already coded with an item number, but otherwise they make me scream.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 1:58:26 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@jastro- Ha! My least favorite are round objects or bottles or cans that are molded into shapes. The bar code never scans. And unlike someone who does it professionally, I don't have the experience to learn all the angles and tricks. 

Grocery stores have been experimenting with ways to checkout a whole cart at once (RFID tags would be one way). that is the kind of user experience that makes it worth it to the customer.
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
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6/11/2014 | 2:17:39 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
You must have been next to me at the <fill in the blank national grocery chain> when my fruit and veg purchases didn't register in the auto checkout aisle, and I was presented with a video display of fruit and veg pics.

You'd think with all that genetic manipulation that goes on with food these days that scientists would have figured out a way to grow fruit and vegetables that have the bar codes on them. How hard can it be to adapt the pigment on certain areas of an apple skin, say, to represent a bar code?

Bar-nana

Once we master that, we can work on fruit and veg QR codes - if you're not sure how to prepare or eat the item, just scan it and you can get taken to a web site with recipes and advice!
jastroff
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jastroff,
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6/11/2014 | 2:21:06 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
>> grow fruit and vegetables that have the bar codes on them

 

GREAT IDEA. Works for me! thanks
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 3:30:09 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@jgherbert- love the barcode idea. And the pic is fantastic. But question-- does each bunch grow one barcode or do you have to scan each individual banana?
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
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6/11/2014 | 3:32:48 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
"love the barcode idea. And the pic is fantastic. But question-- does each bunch grow one barcode or do you have to scan each individual banana?"

I guess if we sell by weight rather than by the bunch, perhaps they can all have the barcode, but the code is simply used to identify the product that is sitting on the scales? That way you can safely split a bunch as well ;-)
soozyg
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soozyg,
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6/12/2014 | 11:35:33 AM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
 if you're not sure how to prepare or eat the item, just scan it and you can get taken to a web site with recipes and advice!

jgherbert not sure if you were joking here or not, but I think the check-out at a grocery store--or any store is the last place a shopper is going to stop to get a recipe or check out a website. : )
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
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6/12/2014 | 1:21:48 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
>jgherbert not sure if you were joking here or not, but I think the check-out at a grocery store--or any store is the last place a shopper is going to stop to get a recipe or check out a website. : )

@soozyg:I'm not entirely serious. However, most people with a smart phone have (or can easily get) a QR code reading app. Then when you see Kumquat, rather than searching the web for it, you can simply scan the QR code and get curated information and recipes (featuring the store's own brand products, most likely ;-). Ok, you don't need to have that QR code grown in the skin for that to work, but what about when you're at home thinking "Hmm, what can I do to make this banana more interesting?" you could look then.

In fact, with the right app you could scan bar codes of all that fruit, veg and meat in your fridge and get recipes featuring those ingredients. Having bar codes on fruit and veg would make that rather sad process easier. Not to mention the attempts at automatic fridge stock tracking / shopping list creators.

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 1:35:25 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@JGherbert: Is that a barcode on your banana, or...?

(sorry, couldn't resist the lame attempt at a joke)

In all seriousness, I'm signed up right now with this program to receive a box of locally grown farm-fresh produce every two weeks delivered to my door. I never know what is going to be in the box, and there have been veggies in there that I have never met before. I often find myself googling not only to identify the things but also to find recipes to make use of them. So, I think your idea is a great one for home use--would definitely save me a few steps if there were a QR code included on the bands that hold the produce for example. (don't think i'd like to see such a thing imprinted on the actual produce itself, though).

 
Michelle
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Michelle,
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6/11/2014 | 12:50:42 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
I haven't seen tablets for restaurant ordering & checkout locally but I am starting to see them as a check-in device in other places (health clinics, car repair, site-to-store merchandise pick up). I'm not impressed with the deployments I've seen thus far.

I'm afraid we're going to see more tech for tech's sake. David brings up a great point about aging operating systems and messy hardware over time. I have used self-checkout machines at the grocery store and they aren't wonderful. I fear the at table devices will not be a great addition to casual dining.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 1:15:06 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@michelle- You are right. Check-in is a place you see it a lot. I'm surprised more restuarants haven't tried computerized (especially mobile) call-ahead seating and reservations with the success of Open Table. 

The thing that distrubs me most about self check-in is that check-in is the moment you most want to see a face. You are likely to have the most questions. You want a sense that a person knows you are there. 

Still, I can see why it is the most labor intensive and most devoid of revenue gaining opportunities, that I can see how it is tempting.
Michelle
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Michelle,
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6/11/2014 | 3:21:23 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@David I really like your suggestion to follow the Starbucks model --- NO HARDWARE. I would like to see more mobile check-in options. I have used a check-in app for a barber shop with great success. Knowing your estimated wait time is handy!

We don't have reservation-based seating in my area. There are few eateries that offer call-ahead seating. I would like to see more embrace mobile for these tasks. I also want to see more mobile-friendly online ordering options.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
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6/11/2014 | 3:36:49 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@michelle- Thanks. I didn't want to turn the article into a full-blown endorsement of what amounts to BYOD in restaurants. But I think the lack of hardware is key to making this work long term. I can order a pizza online on my phone and go pick it up. Why can't I use my phone to get ribs at Chilis while i'm at the table?
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
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6/11/2014 | 3:41:03 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
"Why can't I use my phone to get ribs at Chilis while i'm at the table?"

That might be nice in addition to an on-table tablet offering, but if you make it exclusive to smart phones you automatically create a Have versus Have Nots situation and offer (effectively) prioritized service to those with phone hardware capable of using it to order, and I can't help feeling that this might alienate a certain proportion of the customer base.

I do agree with the earlier comment about being able to use your phone to reserve a table though, so perhaps I'm in favor of giving advantages to smart-phone owners after all!
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 3:45:19 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
 

That might be nice in addition to an on-table tablet offering, but if you make it exclusive to smart phones you automatically create a Have versus Have Nots situation and offer (effectively) prioritized service to those with phone hardware capable of using it to order, and I can't help feeling that this might alienate a certain proportion of the customer base.

@jgherbert- I don't look at it as an advantage so much as an add-on. The server is still there for the phoneless. But I get your point. You need to make sure you market it so it doesn;'t make you feel like you are missing something for not having your phone. 
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
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6/11/2014 | 2:21:04 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
"I haven't seen tablets for restaurant ordering & checkout locally but I am starting to see them as a check-in device in other places (health clinics, car repair, site-to-store merchandise pick up)."

Agreed; Minute Clinic (usually embedded within CVS stores) for example, use a self-checkin system (albeit not on a tablet), and although as you suggest, the interface sucks big time, it does allow them to run a queuing system without employing somebody simply to take names. When there's only one person working, this is incredibly useful and avoids so many arguments.

Implementation though... yeah. Needs work ;-)
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
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6/11/2014 | 3:32:48 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@jgherbert- I get the value of the check-in from a fiscal point of view, but in a healthcare setting shouldn't a person lay eyes on a patient immediately? What if someone stumbles in with a gun shot wound or small pox and they don't know it isn't just a rash?

Should someone who can at least say "wow, this perosn is not well" be there to chekc them in?
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
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6/11/2014 | 3:37:42 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
"I get the value of the check-in from a fiscal point of view, but in a healthcare setting shouldn't a person lay eyes on a patient immediately? What if someone stumbles in with a gun shot wound or small pox and they don't know it isn't just a rash?"

I look at it like when I call my family practitioner out of hours and the outgoing voicemail message begins with "If you are having a medical emergency, hang up and call 911." You have to have the common sense to know when it's appropriate to visit a Minute Clinic or other service aimed at very minor ailments, versus going to the ER.

I don't know - beyond obvious things like an ax handle sticking out of your cranium - whether the average doctor's receptionist is truly able to do eyeball triage anyway. The most they'd likely do is ask you not to bleed all over the carpet please; they're unlikely to identify small pox I would think? Maybe I underestimate their medical training! :)
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 3:41:56 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@jgherbert- Fair enough. I think they do have a ton of experience. But you are right that this is 1% situation. but I feel like that's what people are for in a technological world-- to cover times when computers aren't ready to do it yet.
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
6/11/2014 | 3:47:59 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
"I feel like that's what people are for in a technological world-- to cover times when computers aren't ready to do it yet."


You are undoubtedly correct. Just like we'll always need somebody in a restaurant, it's helpful to have a face. My guess - and it's just that - is that the financial model of something like Minute Clinic is based precisely on it being a self-service check-in, so they don't have to employ anybody to do it. In this particular case, Minute Clinic is not a company owned by CVS - they are a true concession within the stores, and totally self-contained, so they're also missing the ability to get that resource from, say, the pharmacists or the shop staff as part of the existing overhead.

This is a really interesting discussion. It certainly raises some fascinating questions about how our experience may change in the coming years.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 3:55:44 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@jgherbert- I'm not familiar with the company, but there's an awful lot of construction going on at my two nearest pharmacies so I'm guessing I soon will be. 

I still think they better be highly insured for the first time that someone dies in their waiting room. 

Reminds me of the old joke about a doctor giving a lecture at a medical school and he's asked the quesiton: "What would you do it a patient was just leaving your office and suddenly dropped dead?"

And the doctor says, "I'd turn him around so it looked like he was coming in."
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
6/11/2014 | 4:00:05 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
And the doctor says, "I'd turn him around so it looked like he was coming in." 

*laughs* I like that ;-)

I can't recall, but I'd bet that when you do the check-in process, you also release the from liability. That's a pure guess, but it's what I'd do!
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
6/11/2014 | 4:24:11 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
I've seen iPads as self-service ordering devices done well in San Francisco eateries. But the app UI/UX has to be exceptional. One thing more frustrating that being in line behind someone taking a long time at a cashier is being in line behind someone taking a long time with a self-service device due to technological confusion.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
6/11/2014 | 5:40:39 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
Kiosks or tablets for ordering/paying make perfect sense at mid-tier chain restaurants. You don't go to these places for the ambience or social interaction. You're there to eat. And the exchange is rarely complicated enough that human interaction is needed -- unless maybe when little kids are involved. I don't mean to dehumanize the situation and food servers will surely lose their jobs, but touch-screen ordering, if done right, is a win for the customer (order meal and pay more efficiently) and the restaurant (boost revenue).
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 6:04:53 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
You don't go to these places for the ambience or social interaction. You're there to eat. And the exchange is rarely complicated enough that human interaction is needed -- unless maybe when little kids are involved. 


@Shane- Allow me to play devil's advocate. If ambiance and service don't matter at mid-tier restaurants why are they hiring all the perky coolege kids who dance or sing or wear clever buttons or look good in barely anything? If the ambiance doesn't matter, why are they buying all those antiques or theming to music or movies or sports?

It seems like for many mid-tier restaurants that is ALL that matters. Maybe they've been making mistakes all along and it doesn't matter.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 6:04:53 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
You don't go to these places for the ambience or social interaction. You're there to eat. And the exchange is rarely complicated enough that human interaction is needed -- unless maybe when little kids are involved. 


@Shane- Allow me to play devil's advocate. If ambiance and service don't matter at mid-tier restaurants why are they hiring all the perky coolege kids who dance or sing or wear clever buttons or look good in barely anything? If the ambiance doesn't matter, why are they buying all those antiques or theming to music or movies or sports?

It seems like for many mid-tier restaurants that is ALL that matters. Maybe they've been making mistakes all along and it doesn't matter.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
6/11/2014 | 8:11:34 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@David - I think this brings up a great point.  Don't most restaurants feel they have more to offer than just the food?  I'm guessing if you ask them, not many would put themselves in the "you just come here to eat" category even if that's the reality.

I personally would embrace this in even a Michelin star restaurant, but I'm that person who doesn't mind not having a live person.  There are plenty of people who feel the opposite.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 11:39:22 AM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@vnewman- I would have thought so. But perhaps service has never been one of those things. I have to say, I get more bad service than good service at mid-tier restaurants. Maybe the restaurants are just tired of the mediocrity. Maybe if they, you know, paid them, instead of relying on them getting tips, they'd get better service folks.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
6/12/2014 | 12:40:54 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@David Ok maybe "ambiance" was the wrong word. I was equating ambiance with the sophisticated aura of a high-end restaurant. But you're right, every place has ambiance -- even fast food restaurants need a look and feel and sense of place. But the service staff at low- and mid-tier places are not needed so much if technology is better at serving customers. At a more refined restaurant, the menu is elaborate with specials that may need explaining. Also, you're spending more money and dining there is usually a special night out. So you want that human connection as part of the experience. I don't really need that connection when grabbing lunch at Chili's if a kiosk is more efficient.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 1:38:23 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@Shane: Whiel I agree with this in theory, I am concerned about it in reality. quick-service and fast-casual restaurantes are a big source of employment for people, they tend to be larger than the more sophisticated dining establishments, and employ far  more waitstaff. What will happen to these jobs if our ordering process becomes as simple as getting cash out of an ATM machine, with no human intervention required?

 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 1:49:41 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@Susan- Historically, these switches don't mean lost jobs. They create jobs elsewhere. When the airlines switched to self-service kiosks they eliminated desk people, but needed more back office people including IT.

However, as the backoffice gets more efficient with the use of technology (especially the cloud) i think it might be time to really redefine what these moves mean to jobs. I'm guessing if not now, in the ocming decades we really are going to be making it difficult to come up with a enough jobs for the people we have.

And we are already taxing the economy because we lack the skilled and edeucated workers for some roles and those unlucky enough to not get the right educaiton are stuck out in the cold.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 2:11:03 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@Dave: That's the thing, if jobs are created in the back office as a result of using these technologies in the front of the house, then those will be very different jobs requiring very different skill sets. They may not be the jobs that college kids can turn to, for example, to pay their way thru school. Or jobs that peolple who can't make it to college at all will ever be considered for.

I fear the widening skills gap will only get work as technology cotinues to advance. But because we're in such a state of transition right now, I wouldn't even know what to advise young students about where to put their energies when planning for their futures.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 2:41:07 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@Susan- There's no doubt that you are right that the widening skills gap is a real problem. And it is a systemic one that requires reworking education, training, hiring, and countless other things. At the same time, the sky has been falling on that front for a long time. There are movies (like Katharine Hepburn's Desk Set) complaining about this problem for a couple of generations.

I can't figure out if the sky isn't falling or if it is falling really slowly. I guess it depends on how lucky you are with your education.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 6:22:48 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@Dave: Expansion and contraction in labor markets is indeed a constant. To your point, it's a matter of luck, education, and being in the right place with the right skills at the right time. What do you think the "skills of the future" will be?
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 6:39:03 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@Susan- I demand that my kids learn to repair robots. I figure at the very least, the robot overlords will need to treat them well.

Seriously, I think technical skills and soft skills that will be hardest for computers to learn-- creatvity, communication, writing. 

But I'm hoping to live long enough to see the Star Trek world where none of us works unless we want to and we all have replicators.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/13/2014 | 2:47:37 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@Dave: Hear Hear!!  "I'm hoping to live long enough to see the Star Trek world where none of us works unless we want to and we all have replicators."


What's interesting to me is that the very sckills you highlight -- creativity, communitcation, writing -- seem to have the least value for our culture right now. Musicians or artists of any kind are expected to give their work away for free, for example. 

I hope you're right that the future will catapult those skills back to the top of the heap.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/13/2014 | 2:49:24 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@susan- I think those skills are all valued. Just right now, they have to be paired with a hard skill. I suspect the hard skills will go away as we automate more and more.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
6/13/2014 | 3:29:22 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
Dave, I coulf not agree more, I think this skills still have a good value.... and still need it...
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
6/12/2014 | 2:44:09 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
I hear you @Susan. The collateral damage will be unpleasant to say the least. But restaurants will still need servers to bring the food orders to tables and do other tasks. So I assume the role will be diminished, but not eliminated. 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 6:26:30 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@Shane: true, just as banks sill have a couple of bank tellers during business hours. Still, delivering food doesn't require the kind of people skills that being a water or waitress does. I wonder whether other oportuniteis will open up for entry-level people to learn those skills--or whether the need for human interaction will become so unnecessary in the future that old-school things like "people skills" just won't matter anymore...
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 6:36:15 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@Shane- Once you reduce servers to food runners, it is only a matter of time before you build a conveyor belt, a robot food runner or just ask folks to pick up their own food. 

Also, I assume when you are doing fewer things, it takes less time, so they need fewer of you. 

Funny enough, i keep thinking about the old Automat. How cool would the automat be if you combined it with tablets or mobile phones ?
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
6/12/2014 | 9:13:32 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
now that you mentioned it. I don't like the idea of automating the restaurant.  After your cross that line, it opens the door for other areas. 

Personally, I don't like the groceries self check outs, many times they do not work and they are a hassle to get your food check out by yourself.  The time it takes me to do that will be much slower than with a person. You are right, robot technician will be the next useful ocupation.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 1:46:28 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@Tom: This is especialy true when said customer is the only thing standing between me and a cup of coffee:

One thing more frustrating that being in line behind someone taking a long time at a cashier is being in line behind someone taking a long time with a self-service device due to technological confusion.

:)
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
6/12/2014 | 4:02:40 AM
Touch scrrens on table
"Casual dining restaurants, including Chili's and Applebee's, will be rolling out new self-service kiosks using tablets in the next few months. The tablets will allow customers to order food, call their servers, and pay their checks without needing to interact with a human"

David, pizza hut already has similar facility. From your serving table (touch screen) you can order the required items and can make the payment. It also has the option to save your order for reuse on next visit.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 1:43:40 PM
Moving toward a self-service world
@Dave: You've captured both the benefits and drawbacks of retail attempts at self-service. I always hated checking out my own groceries because the system was just awful. I like the idea of menus on tablets, especially if nutrition information and ingredients are easily accessible.

What I'm curious to know, though, is how you see this extending into the internal operations of an enterprise. For example, I know many IT organizations are looking to move toward a self-service model for things like buying and provisioning laptops and smartphones, and Intel even has vending machines in its offices where employees can use their ID cards to "purchase" USB sticks, cords, earbuds and other accessories.

Waht is the future of self-service for the IT organization? Will meeting employees' hardware needs ever become as simple as ordering  Chili Cheese Fries from a tablet app?
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 1:54:40 PM
Re: Moving toward a self-service world
What I'm curious to know, though, is how you see this extending into the internal operations of an enterprise. For example, I know many IT organizations are looking to move toward a self-service model for things like buying and provisioning laptops and smartphones, and Intel even has vending machines in its offices where employees can use their ID cards to "purchase" USB sticks, cords, earbuds and other accessories.

Waht is the future of self-service for the IT organization? Will meeting employees' hardware needs ever become as simple as ordering  Chili Cheese Fries from a tablet app?


@Susan- Sounds liek a great article, idea. I might give you a more formal answer in the next few days. In the meantime, my short answer is that I don't think this is the same concept. I think of that more like Amazon style e-commerce. Order something and it arrives at your desk in a few weeks.

Presumably, if tied to a budget and to the right vendor, this could be accomplished relatively easily with IT only being involved in setting up the technology. I see that as freeing the help desk and support staff to work on more important problems rather than a case of getting rid of anyone for the sake of saving on labor. Maybe i underestimate how many people we're talking here. I'll look into it.

The one thing i wonder about is if we automate too many of the low level support jobs in IT whether it will become a problem for IT pros. Those are usually people's first jobs and it helps them get their feet wet in a company-facing role. 
 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 2:17:27 PM
Re: Moving toward a self-service world
@Dave:  I like the Amazon analogy for self-service IT. Though, perhaps we can employ all those out-of-work waitstaff to deliver the IT hardware immediately to people's desks once restaurant ordering becomes completely self-service.

Interesting, though, the same concern about jobs applies whether talking about self-service in IT or in restaurants and retail: 

The one thing i wonder about is if we automate too many of the low level support jobs in IT whether it will become a problem for IT pros. Those are usually people's first jobs and it helps them get their feet wet in a company-facing role. 
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
6/12/2014 | 1:52:21 PM
Re: Restaurants' Switch To Tablets Is Trouble
You're certainly right to point out that this is a double-edged sword, Dave. Companies sink a huge amount of money into these services up-front, and then end up not making a return on it immediately and therefore not being able to keep up on the maintenance and upgrades. They add all kinds of unnecessary bells and whistles (like the games on these Chili's kiosks), while missing seemingly obvious problems (bad handling of restricted items IE liquor... didn't they know they sold these items all along?) Like you say, it's a little puzzling what simple lessons we can't seem to learn in ten years.

Some of these can be solved by better practices, and some of them seem to be the price of doing business with self-service. Either way, companies should factor them into their budgets and plans before diving in headfirst, not after. If it costs you $1,000 to set up a self-service station, you can't think of that as a flat cost - you have to factor in the costs of service, repair, upgrades, and more. You have to account for the possibility of needing to replace it sooner than you expect - and if you need to justify that cost, do it with the longterm ROI you earn day in and day out, not the money it's going to save you by terminating employees on day 1.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 1:57:42 PM
Re: Restaurants' Switch To Tablets Is Trouble
@zerox203- The liquor thing is especially interesitng in some states. California recently passed a law that you can't buy booze in the self-checkout. That certainly shifts quites a few people back to the regular checkout. So much so that our self-checkout lanes are now a ghost town.

In the restaurant business, I suspect you could correct that easily by having the server check IDs when they bring the drinks. You could even have them scan a license as a preliminary step to make sure they are pranking the server.
asksqn
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asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
6/12/2014 | 10:15:39 PM
Tablets are worthless & notoriously insecure
First off, self service check outs in grocery stores has not gone away nor is it confusing.  It's fairly straight-forward provided that the user possesses a working brain.  Any problems, an employee can be summoned and is right there to fix it.  Boom. Done.  On the other hand, as to self-order kiosks in restaurants, the only problem I see is utter lack of security.  Tablet security?  LOL there is no such thing. Target can't even get security right and they use a WIRED connection straight to the POS AND have employees.  If anyone wants to input their credit card data into a tablet then have at it, but I won't be any time soon.  Tablet ordering is a nightmare easy ID/cr. cd. theft waiting to happen.   
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/13/2014 | 12:03:09 PM
Re: Tablets are worthless & notoriously insecure
@asksqn- With all due respect, I think that attitude is one that holds IT back. Sure, it is easy for an IT professional to navigate any computer interface. But there is a digital divide in this country and many people (those people not suprisingly shop at grocery stores and eat at restaurants) are seeing tablets and touch screens for the first time in their lives as they are encountered in these places. 

The more universal the product (and food is as universal as it gets) the more careful we need to be to remember not everyone is as smart or experienced as we are.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
6/13/2014 | 3:36:31 PM
Re: Tablets are worthless & notoriously insecure
I think with self serve kiosk it always be a security problem... in ontario it a big mess with gov. run self serve kiosk ... - http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/11/06/service-ontario-kiosks-ontario-government_n_2081077.html
PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
6/15/2014 | 10:01:16 AM
Re: Tablets are worthless & notoriously insecure
@asksqn...You bring up an important point. Security is always a concern and always overlooked. It will only take one breach of these tablets as they become more popular to poissibly put a damper on anyone using them.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
6/18/2014 | 3:29:16 PM
Re: Tablets are worthless & notoriously insecure
@Paul i could not agree more about security threat but can't we have tech at hand to serve the purpose for better and secure envirnoment. Just a thought :)
PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
6/18/2014 | 6:55:29 PM
Re: Tablets are worthless & notoriously insecure
@nomii... That is the ideal situation, however it happens time and time again. Security takes a back seat to ease and speed of use.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
6/19/2014 | 12:22:51 PM
Re: Tablets are worthless & notoriously insecure
@Paul I agree with you there. I also feel that anything has bad and good side but it basically depends on the usage. I believe that the tablets [provided to the customer can be used as a spying device. I believe that it can be remotely controlled as many other equipments today are. I believe that it might prove all other assumptions wrong and can be a roaring success but only time will tell.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
8/2/2014 | 11:28:23 PM
Re: Tablets are worthless & notoriously insecure
for devices from uknown source from China... it does happens and it does affect Canadian gov. more than they want to admit... as no one willing to talk about it...
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
8/2/2014 | 11:26:35 PM
Re: Tablets are worthless & notoriously insecure
this days Co. trying to find balance of speed vs security... sometimes it works... but Co. tend to overlook it...
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
6/13/2014 | 3:30:58 PM
Re: Tablets are worthless & notoriously insecure
yes, as everyones try to track customer... one way or other...
LUFU
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LUFU,
User Rank: Strategist
6/13/2014 | 6:45:35 PM
Eating Out versus Dining Out
If I'm at Chili's I want to get In 'N Out as quick as possible without a fuss. And if self-service Kiosks helps accelerate the ordering, getting served, and getting the check process then I won't balk.

Now, if I'm at The French Laundry in Yountville and Thomas Keller hands me a iPad when I walk in the door, I'll be highly disappointed.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/13/2014 | 6:48:35 PM
Re: Eating Out versus Dining Out
@Lufu- I ate at Michael Symon's restaurant, Lola. Simon isn't quite Keller and Lolka isn't quite the French Laundry, but it is definitely fine dining. They've had iPads at Lola as menus for at least 3 years. It was quite snazzy. You still spoke to a real server, but the menu was sleek, always up to date, and looked really good.

I think you can find a way to make it work for even fine dining. 

As an aside, the servers kept asking me if I could help them make their menu play Angry Brids. :)
LUFU
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LUFU,
User Rank: Strategist
6/14/2014 | 12:37:55 PM
Re: Eating Out versus Dining Out
@David - I can accept a digital menu at different levels. What levels? That's difficult to quantify. Like reading a book, I still enjoy perusing a quaiity "paper" menu when dining.

I would especially miss moments like I had at one upscale and snooty restaurant. They kept the lights appropriately low to set the elegance ambience. I, however, disrupted their meticulously controlled atmosphere by putting my menu over a votive candle so I could read it only to watch a dark spot in the middle of it grow and burst into flames. This caused quite a commotion. And while my dinner companion didn't relish the attention from the other patrons, our waiter thought it was funny.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
6/18/2014 | 3:25:19 PM
Re: Eating Out versus Dining Out
@David I think its the best way of presentation. I think a happy mix of tradition with technology is the most suitable solution. I believe that IPads for menus and real person as servers will be the right mix as you mentioned. I think we need to understand what tech is all about and where it will serve the purpose the most.
PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
6/15/2014 | 9:56:08 AM
KIS
Keep it simple... I think that should be a major part in any kiosk self serve system. If it's to complex people just will not use it. I recently visited a drs office that uses tablets to check in and pay your copay if you wish. I found it easy to use and like it.
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
6/16/2014 | 12:15:09 PM
Keywords: Customer Experience
Excellent article David,

I'm all for integrating any available technology resources that can be leveraged to enhance an experience, whether it be dining, grocery shopping or buying a t-shirt.

But one thing is critical: The Customer Experience!

Many of us like to go out to eat and ask "what's today's special?", "what can you recommend?".... and many time we end up ordering dishes different than what we had originally in mind because of the waiters feedback.

So if restaurants are deciding to have more of a "self service" approach simply to reduce overhead, this can easilly back fire on them.

I'll give a good example: Disney

Anyone who has had any type of Disney experience knows that they're all about the guest experience, and making sure you have the best time ever. Disney is all about implementing technology, as long as it adds value and not decrease it.

So like the process of paying the bill, splitting the check, and ordering something on the menu that doesn't require the waiter to come back...yeah...that's cool.... but be careful in going too far!
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/16/2014 | 12:25:44 PM
Re: Keywords: Customer Experience
@mejiac- Couldn't agree more, and Disney is a great example. Until very recently, Disney has always chosen to keep technology out of the hands of its customers (un;less it was part of a ride experience). They always deployed the technology in the hands of its cast members (yes, I love Disney enough to use their term cast member instead of employees or staff). 

Recently, they've adde dtheir new "Magic Bands" which interestingly enough, have no buttons or any sort of complicated things to interact with. You just hold them up to a scanner. You couldnt get any easier.

I'm quite sure that is simple by design, and a great lesson.
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Ninja
6/17/2014 | 4:24:38 PM
Re: Keywords: Customer Experience
 

Dave I recently used one of these tablets in a quick service environment. It was interest sting that some aspects worked really well and others seemed clunky. It was obvious it was a new implementations. I thought it was interesting that my server did not take the opportunity to personalize the experience or even mention the tablet. They were MIA for part of the meal so we used it to pay and order coffee. Overall we liked it but we though the server should have at least wished us a good evening when he delivered dessert. I have also used the Disney app recently it was very effective in some areas such as reducing waits but clunky in others such as indicating line closures for characters. The hybrid of onsite and magic band is also not the simplest process for guests to understand.
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
6/19/2014 | 1:21:39 PM
wawa made it work
For grocery stores a tablet is a poor choice becasue of the sheer number of items. Everytime I go through the self checkout something goes wrong, usually with something from the produce aisle. however if all you have is discrete choices like a restaurant, it might be ideal.

For example Wawa had used a tablet like system at their sandwich counter, where i can customize by breakfast sandwich, get my ticket and them go pay at the register and pick up my food when it's ready. It frees up the deli employees to make sandwiches instead of watch as you wonder about your order and the check out employees becasue they don't have to wait for the deli guys to be finished first.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2014 | 9:27:55 AM
Re: wawa made it work
i've never had any problems self-checking out at a supermarket either in the US or in the EU. there are very few issues (usually with coupons not scanning or the box being full). When that happens an attendant comes by quickly. What is sad is the amount of layoffs now at restaurants and other establishments that are using tablets. Having human service was part of the experience and atmosphere at restaurants. It also built responsibility and character for those starting out in the business world and offered a landing spot for those who were laid off in other fields.
batye
50%
50%
batye,
User Rank: Ninja
8/2/2014 | 11:32:15 PM
Re: wawa made it work
humans craving interactions with each other... and this point this days Co. tend to overlook... as technology never able to replace human server - yet...
tjgkg
50%
50%
tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
8/8/2014 | 4:18:20 PM
Re: wawa made it work
Humans will have to IM each other soon if they want interaction.
batye
50%
50%
batye,
User Rank: Ninja
8/8/2014 | 4:20:49 PM
Re: wawa made it work
yes, you are right. good point...
tjgkg
50%
50%
tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
8/18/2014 | 11:35:23 AM
Re: wawa made it work
Thanks.
batye
50%
50%
batye,
User Rank: Ninja
8/2/2014 | 11:30:49 PM
Re: wawa made it work
interesting to know.... in Canada we are good few years behind with tablets as pos devices... but it comming to the store near you... one day... 


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