This picture is of a table top screen that has started appearing on restaurant tables. The reason for this is to reduce or replace the wait staff.
Customers are able to place their orders following the touch screen – they can pay their bill with the screen at the end of their visit and while they are just sitting around at their table they can sometimes play games on the screen – as well as absorb some advertising.
McDonalds is also testing self service screens.
Restaurant owners have a couple of big categories of expenses. Rent, food and labour. Hard to operate a restaurant without food so labour is probably one of the best areas for a business owner to see an opportunity to cut costs. If you are a business owner you are always on the lookout for ways to reduce costs without reducing the customer experience. Once customers are used to placing their own orders – a business owner can safely reduce staff.
We have been down this road many times. Elevators used to have operators. Gas stations had more attendants and banks had more tellers. The concept of self service is an oxymoron. If you are doing it yourself, it is not service!
However as more and more people prefer interacting with a screen than with a person, opportunities for saving labour costs will increase.