The future is here........

My son wanted to grab a quick bite at Applebee’s and we encountered one of these. “Ted” as they call it is their fully automated ordering and payment system. (Also has game/entertainment functions)
Don’t know if this is a direct result of the minimum wage push across the country, but this is certainly the future it seems of the food service industry.

So does the server wear a vibrating pager?

The order goes directly to the kitchen /bar and any “runner” brings your order to your table.

I was at a place that had them. And you can pay by CC right there too right?

The main question is why eating Applebee food when not forced at gun point (and even then it might not “convince” me enough)

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We have screens like that at McDonalds and they use “pay wave” for credit cards.

Its the new build your own “Gourmet” burger model with choices of type of bun, type (beef , chicken, haloumi) and number of patties, type of cheese (Mcdonalds original, swiss, brie, cheddar etc), type of bacon (crispy or rasher), types of dressing plus the additions like lettuce, pickles, jalapeños, beetroot, and pineapple.

The order goes to the kitchen and is delivered to your table. You can get an OK burger but its easy to get to the $10 mark.


Correct, scan your own card and request a paper reciept or email.

As stated, my son picked it. What we do for our children. (It did suck)


There are always restaurants (all chains) which are off limits for our daughter if we ask her for a restaurant recommendation

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So I guess that the Jetson’s are now here!

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Well if we really want to throw this into a tailspin.

So do you tip … who are you tipping …

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Years ago in the boonies we settled on Applebees. I got some fettucine dish with a white sauce. I very rarely throw food away, but that sauce was absolutely horrific that even now I want to gag.

This 5 location SoCal chain began with a San Diego location maybe 5 years ago. Disclaimer: I know one of the owners and he’s told me that a large percentage of patrons prefer help using the iPads or just choose standard server ordering. Maybe the future needs a bit more training.

A lot of senior citizens wouldn’t know what to do with an iPad, it is even surprising how many people a few decades younger aren’t fluent in smartphones, touchscreens, and apps. Heck, borrowing a different model of smartphone that you’re not used to is challenging for most of us.

And I’m sure some people want human service, too.

Since there is some chatter how bad Applebee’s is here’s what we had;

Cheeseburger egg rolls; decent best thing we got
Wings; horrible, worst wings (I think we actually got a foot, completely unidentifiable fried object)
Chicken&Pasta; son loves this dish, had a cream sauce could be what someone else commented on.
Thai Shrimp Salad; passable but not good, I ate about half.

All in all pretty dismal experience. Thankfully I enjoyed playing with Ted.


Planet Money did an interesting podcast about these things. It is not just that the restaurant potentially saves on wages. It seems that people are also willing to order things like dessert that they don’t when dealing with a human who might be judging them. So check size increases.

Just to add. Wendy’s is implementing the self serve kiosks/stations in all 6,000 restaurants. Hardees/Carl Jr’s is considering it. Some McDonalds in the US have it, and almost 1000 in Europe, and planning up to 7,000 in Europe. Chili’s is implementing the self serve kiosks or tablets/pads. I had no clue these self serve options have been available in chains for several years. That tells you how often I eat fast food or in those chains. I haven’t eaten at an applebbes, chilis, olive garden, etc. since the late 90’s and only once at each, because I was with a business group out of town, and if I didn’t eat with the group I had to pay for my meals. (The business owner couldn’t handle any “weird” foods.) I ended up eating a lot of meals by myself, at really great little ethnic places.

Personally I feel bad for the employees who may lose jobs, or that less of these type jobs may be available. But, on the few times I go into a fast food place, interacting with the employees is usually a worse experience than the food.

If you ever have to go back to Applebees, try their rib tips! They are really delicious, chain or not.

Was there tip on your order? I would love it if all these machines replaced servers and tipping.

You “ring” yourself out, scan your own card, it auto-populates a 20% tip. You can adjust it up or down but by default it puts 20% which I found interesting. It also gives you the option of paper or email receipt.

Did you leave the 20%? Sounds like robbery to me.

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