Maybe It’s You.

A page member sent me an article, basically stating that this “writer” is looking forward to a time that we no longer need servers. Apparently, even though some places have the order kiosks, she seems to think that:

 

A) Human error will not happen in both the kitchen and transport to/from the table.

B) This means that you still will not have a waiter to transport your food, refill your drinks, etc.

C) That entering her family’s “simple” order on a touch screen will be simple.

 

Now, maybe I’m coming off a little harsh towards this writer, but lets face it, her attitude towards the service industry is just that, and one thing I will do is defend us.

Now, instead of writing an article about why automated ordering will not take over, and will not be as smooth as people believe it will be, I will simply counter her article. Don’t get me wrong, I yearn for the day she can sit at a kiosk, attempts to enter her order, and the food that comes out it is all wrong, and all her fault. Maybe, just maybe, if they could have ordered with a human, all the modifiers would have been correct.

Who am I to do this?

Just a bartender. But, one who is writing articles. So, I guess the difference between her and I is that she assumes things about my (our) jobs, and I do both mine and hers.

The article in question can be found here.

Okay, first off, I agree with the opening, and though this may be one of the only things I agree with, she’s correct. If you’re taking an order from multiple people, maybe you should write it down. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s easier to write it down and get it correct the first time, than scramble and correct your error.

Here is where she gets condescending and contradictory. “It is not a particularly complicated order,” but then goes on to say that there are five people, three under the age of 8 with “somewhat picky palates.”

I’ll go out on a limb here, and I am assuming, but this woman has probably never waited a table in her life. If she had, she would have more respect for the industry in general. She contradicts herself in the first paragraph, and doesn’t even understand she did. The non-complex, yet complex palate of her family seems to be too difficult for her to cook for (And look, everyone has the right to eat out as long as they can pay for it, but again, attack us, we attack you.) at home, but she wants to pretend it is a simple order, just so she can justify attacking the server’s mistakes.

In the third paragraph, she goes on to discuss how some restaurants (The ones that are chains) have been replacing “waiters with tablet computers” and that she couldn’t be happier.

Again, she is off-base here. First, they’re kiosks. And when you order from a kiosk, you still have servers. You still have a server, serving your food and drinks, unless tablet computers that float around themselves have been invented, and if they have, I missed this. If someone is using a tablet computer to take your order, they are still your server. Saying otherwise, to me, just sounds like an excuse justifying not tipping your server properly.

Let’s also not ignore the fact that these kiosks will never take over. In chains? Maybe. But they’re not cheap. Bars and restaurants close every year. Thousands upon thousands of others can barely keep their doors open. The owner won’t be purchasing a kiosk for every table. Now, if you’d like to discuss your palate, and then go to a cookie-cutter, tasteless chain, please enjoy your second contradiction. Maybe add some salt and pepper to that.

Let’s move on. The next paragraph is filled with more of their inability to properly interact with a human, and more love of corporate restaurants. This is not a slight against any server or bartender who has a corporate job, but as a whole, we all realize that a large part of their clientele goes because if you complain, it’s free. It’s cookie cutter. It doesn’t have personality. Clearly they have had multiple problems at these places, yet they go back. Maybe it’s them? No, that couldn’t possibly be it, could it?

She now spends the next few paragraphs slighting everyone from the “snack bar” employees to the supermarket workers. This woman has never had a positive experience in public ever. No wonder she would only like to interact with a computer. She goes on to say that the supermarket deli needs a kiosk. God forbid you have to repeat anything. Apparently these kiosks are free, she’s putting them everywhere. I wonder how happy she’d be typing in her cold-cut order knowing that the prices have gone up, because of the kiosks?

Next, I get the pay off. She clearly has never worked in a restaurant a day in her life. But, it’s okay, she’s an expert because she has a friend who was a “fine-dining busgirl.”

Now, this is possibly my favorite part of the article:

“ I care much more about whether the food on my plate bears some resemblance to the food I asked for than about whether you’re making eye contact with me.”

Why eat out at all then? Why not get a to-go order? You can do this online on a computer, which is clearly their preferred companion. Do you think they have Rosie the maid from The Jetsons at home for their children? Are you telling me you’ve never had a positive experience at a restaurant ever? Why go back? Oh, because you go corporate, complain, and get the meal free.

She then claims that restaurant and retail (How did retail get into this article? Again, why go out anywhere?) establishments are making people less competent so that they can automate anything. I’m trying to figure out what I just read, but my brain really does hurt at this point. That’s like calling a writer incompetent for talking about poor service in a restaurant, but then going off-base and including things like supermarkets, retail stores or even movie theaters. Who would do that? Not someone with such a well-researched and concise article as the one she wrote.

Oh, and then she finishes off stating that she’s never had a positive experience at the concession stand at a movie theater. Go figure.

The writer of this article needs to do two things:

First, walk a few miles, or a few months of shifts as a waitress before she attacks them. Again, I can do her job, and I hope I just proved that, but I bet you she can’t do mine.

Second, she needs to sit back, play on her iPad and order a pizza online. Maybe tape the money to the door, or have Rosie get the pizza at the door so that she doesn’t have to interact with a human. And say to herself, “After all these bad experiences, maybe it is me.”

I hope everyone enjoyed my first article. I have been working on a few others, but was sent this and felt the need to counter her. These are the type of people we deal with on a daily basis. And though she probably has a better education than myself and most of us, we have more real world experience than she will ever. We can at least understand how things go wrong in any business, and we can at least claim we’ve been out in public with a positive experience and show respect to others.

– TAB

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