Our family dined at a Chili's restaurant last month on a trip to Orlando. To our surprise they have installed table-side tablet devices to place orders and pay for the meal. The server merely brought out our orders and checked to see if tea/coke were filled. We enjoyed the meal and the low maintenance interference from the staff.
Many restaurants are now installing devices like this. I have seen them in airports for hurried travelers to order and pay for meals while keeping up with email and the internet. You can even track your flight status and receive updates on boarding deadlines.
How is this affecting the waiter/waitress profession? How does this impact hiring people to simply check on guests rarely or wage and tip compensation? With the city of Seattle, WA recently raising the minimum wage requirement for all businesses, servers are being cut back on hours or had their jobs eliminated completely.
A difficult economy, hard choices in regulations and advanced technology are changing the waiter and waitress job. Perhaps forever. As I have asked many times before, what is "kindling" (That is: changing your business) you in ways you would have never dreamed of just three years ago? What are you doing to prepare for the changes this will take place in your business or your profession?
Technology and guest service are here to stay. How you deliver them is your choice if you wish to be here to stay as well.