March 20, 2016
Carls Jr CEO Wonders If People Ready To Buy From Robot

Are you ready to deal with a computer interface to order a burger and fries? The online survey at the MarketWatch site has 73% of the readers saying yes. The numbers vary quite a bit by state with Oregon having only 45% in favor of skipping the human order takers but 77% in Virginia in favor. The age 18-24 year old people are most in favor followed by 25-34.

This could be rolled out first in high volume restaurants with both human and computer order taking. Throw in a downloadable app so that people can order while en route. People will opt for the fast way whenever there is a line to talk to a human worker.

Using tablet interfaces will be faster. No waiting in line. You won't have to repeat yourself when misunderstood. Even better: be able to order and pay online before you get to the store. Then the order will be ready sooner after you walk in the door. I've done this with Domino's Pizza several times.

Start-up Eatsa has introduced auto-ordering in San Francisco. This starts to bring back the Horn & Hardart Automat of the 1930s and 1940s.

Seriously, what's your favorite fast food chain? Would you still go and order if it did not have a human order taker?

My guess: People do self-serve gasoline just fine. They use self-serve ATMs. They order a rising fraction of their purchases online. They buy from vending machines. I think most people will shift to self-serve restaurant ordering just fine. Some fast food chains could just switch over entirely. They might lose some customers while gaining others.

At lunch time restaurants could even gain customers (especially with pre-order) due to the need for employees to get their food quickly and get back to work. The ability of a work group to all order from their desks and then walk to a restaurant down the street, pick up food immediately, and start eating would be a big plus.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2016 March 20 01:24 PM 

John Cunningham said at March 21, 2016 7:45 PM:

I am 71, and I would have no problem whatever ordering via touchpadcor a robot. Could be a huge improvement over urban fast food employees with surly attitudes.

BernardZ said at March 22, 2016 3:33 AM:

In the supermarkets, they have one person looking after eight self service tills.

Also checkout this

ace said at March 27, 2016 9:25 AM:

We were in Australia in December, and McDonald's has large touchscreens for ordering and paying. You place your order, pay and get a number slip. When your order is ready, your number appears on a larger overhead screen. Pick up your order and you're done. You can still order from a human, but the end is near ...

Anthony said at April 6, 2016 7:27 AM:

I would like ALL food preparation to be automated.
Robots do not have e-coli bacteria on their "hands".
Too many fast food workers do.

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