In a recent interview with Business Insider, the CEO of Carl’s Jr. and Hardees defended his plans to explore touch screen ordering and automation. Andy Puzder explained that human interaction is becoming a thing of the past for the smart phone generation.
“Millennials like not seeing people,” he says. “I’ve been inside restaurants where we’ve installed ordering kiosks … and I’ve actually seen young people waiting in line to use the kiosk where there’s a person standing behind the counter, waiting on nobody.”
This phenomenon is one that grocery chains and home improvements stores have been familiar with for more than a decade now. The popularity of self-checkout among younger shoppers has always been observed, but as demographics shift, self-service may soon become the norm.
From fast food giants like McDonalds to massive family restaurants chains like Chilis, all the big fish in the restaurant industry are starting to see the benefits of automating a large portion of labor with technology, and it’s to everyone’s benefit.
By reducing labor demands, a restaurant will flourish, allowing owners to provide higher wages to essential staff, which in turn will attract higher quality talent to the positions.
Take a typical American diner for example. Touch screens at every table would decimate the demand for wait staff. With automation, a single server can handle an entire dining room.
Imagine the amazing server you’re going to get when you have the capacity to pay them five times a typical server’s salary. The market for wait service will become so competitive that people will start to major in it. You’ll be able to pay your wait staff so much that they don’t even need to accept tips anymore. Which will, of course, drive more customers.
Automation is the wave of the future and every restaurant, big and small, should experience its benefits.