The Future of Waiters


What if I were to tell you in 10 years we will no longer have waiters? That might seem ridiculous, but when you consider all the factors involved (the rise in minimum wage rates, the increased use of technology in restaurants, and the emergence of "tasting counter" restaurants), we can begin to see how we might not need waiters anymore.

Full Case Below

1. What is Eatsa?

The first fully automated restaurant.

Eatsa is leading the charge in fully automating the restaurant experience.
The first of its kind, Eatsa completely rids the customer experience of all human interaction.

Here's how it goes:

1. You step into the restaurant and see a menu overhead.
2. You order from a row of iPads.
3. People behind a wall of translucent windows prepare your food.
4. Once your food is prepared, your name lights up a designated window where you pick up your food.
5. Sit down to eat.

No unintended human interaction.

2. Why is it important?

Eatsa is foreshadowing the end of waiters.

Eatsa is squeezing fast casual restaurants to be more efficient.
The presence of automation is showing restaurant owners the benefits of
cutting down on overhead caused by human error. That, and the fact that millennials are
more comfortable interacting with technology than having unexpected human interactions,
explain why automated restaurants may be the next restaurant craze.

3. Three factors driving the change.

1. Rising minimum wage standards

With many states raising minimum wage above $15/hour (for both tipped and un-tipped employees),
restaurant owners are questioning the necessity of waiters to their business. For these restaurateurs,
the rise in minimum wage means rising labor costs and a big impact on the bottom line.
If waiters are gonna cost restaurant owners so much, why not just replace them with computers?

2. Some restaurants are already adopting tech

Eatsa is just the beginning. Automation is already making its presence felt in fast casual and
mid-tier family restaurants (e.g. Panera and Applebee's), where many of the human interactions are
being replaced by interactions with technology. While some people would say they still
like being waited on, many people are adapting to more automated restaurant experiences.

3. The emergence of "tasting counter" restaurants

Last, the people who still see value in being waited on desire
the utmost level of transparency between them and the food.
As a result, a new type of restaurant has emerged: the tasting counter restaurant.
A restaurant experience where patrons are served by the chefs, tasting counter restaurants
offer patrons a level of service that traditional restaurants simply cannot supply.

4. Conclusion

The future of waiters is twofold:

First, we can reasonably anticipate low skill waiters being replaced by automation.
We will always have the need to refill drinks and have our food dropped at the table,
but really anything that is required of a low skill waiter can be replaced by technology
(if it hasn't already).

Second, while many of us still see value in being waited on
(the knowledge of the waiters and their ability to make recommendations)
chefs at tasting counter restaurants can really handle anything
the high skill waiters provide.

So while Eatsa is a relatively new, young business, it is playing a crucial role
in forecasting the drastic changes we will see to the role of the waiter.