Why Your Upscale Restaurant Server Still Takes Your Order By Hand, Even Though Technology Abounds

McDonald’s is swiftly installing order kiosks. Panera Bread is delivering food, even to customers who order it from their tables. Applebee’s and Chili’s restaurants have tens of thousands of tablets, so guests can place orders electronically.

However, there’s one place where it’s unlikely your order will be taken by a device: fine dining restaurants.

Whenever you eat anyplace more expensive than a fast casual restaurant, waiters and waitresses routinely jot down your order on a piece of paper, or commit it to memory.

They may then enter it at an electronic keypad to send it to the kitchen, but by then, you’re back to conversing with colleagues or looking at your own mobile phone.

The reason for sticking to tradition is simple, says Alex Susskind, associate professor of food and beverage management. Expensive restaurants see the connection between server and diner as a personal one. Introducing a mobile device into that relationship would break an important bond.

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