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Why Touch Screens are Changing How We Order at Restaurants

An excerpt from the Washington Post feature by Becky Krystal

Published on: March 8, 2017. Author: Liah Luther.

An excerpt from Why touch screens are changing how we order at restaurants
By Becky Krystal
March 2 2017, Washington Post

Touch screens have long been a part of our lives, whether on smartphones, ATMs or self-checkout lanes at grocery stores. But restaurants have been slower to adopt the technology. Only late last fall did McDonald’s announce it would roll out self-service ordering stations at its U.S. locations, and Panera Bread and Wendy’s are in the process of replacing some cashiers with touch-screen kiosks.

Several Washington restaurants are now embracing the technology, including quinoa-bowl purveyor Eatsa and stir-fry specialist Honeygrow, chains that have each opened two storefronts in the past few months. Moxie’s, a local cafe offering all-day breakfast, ice cream sandwiches and other lunchtime fare, also uses kiosks.

So, is this another example of robots stealing jobs from people? Not quite.

“Our system doesn’t reduce labor. It’s a common misconception,” said Tommy Woycik, president and founder of Nextep Systems, which provides restaurants, including Moxie’s, with touch-screen technology. What it does do, he said, is shift the type of labor. Eatsa and Honeygrow employ greeters who not only help customers with kiosks, but are also in charge of wiping them down and keeping the store neat. Many of these restaurants employ software engineers and graphic designers to develop the technology, as well.

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