I finally made my first visit to the lunch place in my office park, Specialtys, and it changed my expectations of what a lunch place should be. The key to their impressiveness is simply that they take the cashier out of the lunching process.
It’s not so much that I hate interacting with people, but that the cashier-customer interaction always seems to be a very inefficient one. First, it is often the bottleneck in the restaurant (why is there such a huge line?). Then, when I get up there, I have to explain what I want and then answer a bunch of questions. I’d like to take it to go. No, I don’t want a drink. No, I don’t want extra cheese on my Whopper. No, I don’t want to giganticize it. I just told you what I want and now I have to tell you everything I don’t want? There has to be a better way.
Enter Specialtys. There seems to be at least four ways to place your order there. In order of decreasing awesomeness: You can order AND pay online. Click a few pictures of what you want and quantities, enter your payment, and you’re set. AND! On top of all that, they make your order and set it in a pickup area so you can just bolt in the door, grab it, and depart. No waiting in line, No “I’m here to pick up an order for ‘Craven Moorehead'”, just Grab. Go.
If you happen to be away from a computer you can do the same thing on your Jesusphone with the appropriate app. But say you’re the type who fails to plan ahead for such things as lunch. They have computer kiosks in the place so you can place your order just as quickly. You swipe your cc on the setup and then you grab one of those restaurant buzzers and they ring you when its ready. And the last method is still to order via cashier at the counter (okay, we’re not quite living in the future yet and grandparents still have to eat). But there was only one there during the lunch rush and she looked bored. A cashier not a grandparent.
So I can order ahead and have my lunch sans waiting. And since computers are way cheaper than hiring more cashiers, they can afford to have an army of sandwich artists cranking out flavor torpedoes on short notice when I don’t plan ahead. Food. Belly. Done