It’s the Industrial Revolution all over again. This time, the casualties may be the people who take your order and feign laughter at your corny jokes.
Several chain restaurants are embracing the use of tablets, which may make jobs in the food service industry as obsolete as blacksmiths and cobblers. This month, Chili’s rolled out tabletop tablets that allow customers to order food and pay their bills without a waiter. The tablets can also be used to play games- for an extra fee- while you wait for your order of fajitas.
Chili’s claims that its tablet rollout makes it the largest in the United States. In a press release, the company announced that it installed 45,000 tablets in 823 of its restaurants.
“This rollout marks the first time a restaurant company has installed communal tablets at this scale, and we were able to complete it two months ahead of schedule, bringing up to 6,600 tablets online per day,” said Austen Mulinder, the CEO of Ziosk, the company that manufactures the tablets.
Aside from outsourcing food service to technological advancement, Chili’s is also automating food preparation. According to the New York Times, the company has installed computerized ovens that use infrared technology and conveyor belts in each of its 1,200 restaurants.
The 7-inch tablets run on Android. Aside from taking orders, the tablet allows users to take photos and upload the image to social networks like Facebook. The device can also read coupons and ask customers for feedback based on their orders.
Chili’s is one of the newest restaurants to use tabletop tablets. And more are expected to adopt the technology. Last March, Buffalo Wild Wings announced that all of its restaurants in the U.S. will have seven-inch Samsung Galaxy tablets “by the end of 2015.”