This isn’t the first time kiosks were used in place of real people. Airlines have been doing it for years, and now Panera has joined the club!
The soup and sandwich giant will be cutting down the number of cashiers in its new store design in attempt to fix its speed problems. The chain has faced criticism in the past over its slightly slower service in comparison to other fast food companies, so it was proposed to put the power of the order in the customer’s hands. Panera Chief Executive Ron Shaich said in an interview:
“The dirty little secret in the food industry is one in seven orders is wrong. We’re one in ten, a little better than average. Half of those inaccuracies happen during order input.”
So if you’re dining in at Panera, here’s how it’s going to break down. You’ll order your food exactly how you’d like it at a kiosk, then grab a store pager connected to your request. When the food’s ready, an employee will bring it to you after you flag them down when your pager goes off. You’ll also be able to order using your phone from where you’re sitting in the restaurant and skip the kiosk altogether. Online orders for pick up will be accepted as well.
For those worried about robots stealing their jobs, Shaich insists that there will only be one or two fewer registers even though the average restaurant will have 8 kiosks.