Restaurant Pay Kiosks Are Just Outsourcing Work to the Customer


Restaurants are trying really hard to sell us on the “cool” tech of table kiosks—which, as far as I can tell, are magical boxes that make it so you can never find your waiter.

But that’s kind of the point, actually: the more of those boxes there are, the fewer waiters are needed.

I thought it was slightly interesting the first two or three times I used them. The next ten times I used them I was just kind of “meh”. And now I absolutely abhor them.

Dear all restaurants,

Interacting only with a screen is not a "cool tech" upgrade. It's a "super annoying" downgrade.



If you think about what they actually are, it’s rather revolting.

They sell it as a convenience to you, but it’s actually nothing of the sort. They’re poorly designed interfaces, different in every establishment, and basically equate to a puzzle to solve at the end of your meal. I don’t want to puzzle before I leave. I’m here to relax.

They’re actually just giving you a task that needs to be performed, and that task isn’t going away.

The difference is that instead of the restaurant paying a worker to do it, you the customer are now doing it instead.

Hey, wait. So…

  1. You’re firing your wait staff, who are people who need work.

  2. I get worse service because there is nobody around to answer questions, refill drinks, etc.

  3. And then you have me do the work of paying at the end, which equates to like 137 interactions with a nasty touchscreen using an interface that’s different in every restaurant.

Um, no. Nice try.

Depending on mood I might be talking with managers and/or having waiters do this manually. I’ll happily tip more for the service.

But having that task outsourced to me, by greedy corporations, so they can hire fewer waiters and give me worse service—all under the false flag of “convenience”—is not ok.

Related posts: