Back when I was in high school, my friend and I decided to go to Uno’s. I had been there several times before when I was a kid and when we had finally got there, I was shocked to see not a waiter/waitress but a small black box with a touch screen. While i was not confused as to how to work the machine. I had thought that automation like that was still several years out. But then it dawned on me, while not immediately profitable, these waiter/waitress replacements would probably pay for themselves within 5 years as the restaurant would have to hire less staff overall to work the same amount as tables as before. Looking back on this now, you can see many restaurants starting to prepare for the eventual take over of machines when it comes to order taking. Fast food chains like McDonald’s have these small “kiosks” that can take customer’s orders in place of an employee and we are now seeing more of the non fast food chains adapting to the new technology.
Another factor that is increasing the speed of adaption by companies like this, is the increase in support for the $15 minimum wage. Now regardless of political standing on the issue, the fear of this new minimum wage passing through congress has led chains like Applebees, McDonald’s and others to begin to prepare for what was going to happen eventually, automation.