People Interact

Blog about people-centered design by Lisa Chow and Sandra Sajonas.

Order Your Next Dine-In Meal Via A Screen

Screen at restaurantLast week, the Wall Street Journal wrote an article – “Screens Get a Place at the Table: Restaurants Try to Make It Easier to Pay, Keep Kids Entertained; Bigger Tips for Electronic Waiters?“. A number of chain restaurants are “using or testing small, interactive computer screens at the table. Diners can see glossy pictures of food, order menu items, and pay a check without a waiter.”

Increasingly, more organizations and companies, including libraries, are implementing self-service models, like this one, in order to make their processes and services more efficient.

The question is not whether the technology works, although that is important; some questions are:

  • Is it really making the processes and services more efficient? Are they (the company or organization) doing a task flow analysis?
  • How does this affect the overall experience for both customers and employees? Are they observing? Are they talking to people?
  • What happens when a problem or issue comes up? For example, what if I want a different kind of soup? Or I don’t want a particular ingredient added to my dish? Is there a simple and easy way to do that? Are they doing an error analysis? You can do a combined task and error analysis. 
  • Are people given the option to use the screen or talk to a waiter/waitress? People like to have options. Banks still have tellers. Supermarkets still have cashiers. 

This isn’t about being pro- or anti- technology or self-service models. It’s about people. It’s about how organizations and companies implement and evaluate the changes to service models to ensure that not only do they make processes and services more efficient, but that they are people-centered. You can’t go wrong when you focus on people. 


2 responses to “Order Your Next Dine-In Meal Via A Screen

  1. Anonymous June 9, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Something like a drive-thru experience, I imagine.

    • peopleinteract June 10, 2012 at 12:10 pm

      Good point, didn’t think of the drive-through experience. Although, I think that one would expect minimal people interaction when ordering via drive-through as opposed to dine-in — different expectations maybe. What do you think? It would be interesting to just sit & observe at one of these restaurants. I find that I can learn a lot from just observing. I do like being able to pay for the meal with a credit card right at the table; some restaurants do offer this but still have waiters/waitresses. Having options is good.

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