Tethered to Technology: Help or Hindrance?

I subscribe to numerous online magazines, many of which I only occasionally skim.  As I work in the high-technology field, I occasionally review the CIO ezine.  One article, titled: “Flag Your Waiter Wirelessly” on innovative uses for wireless technology caught my eye today. 

The Fatz Café restaurant chain based in South Carolina: “is deploying wireless technology to let patrons electronically communicate with their servers.”  The bottom line from a managerial perspective is that the technology benefits both patrons and restaurant staff so that workflow is optimized.  Patrons are squarely placed in the driving seat and apparently the servers have accepting the equipments as it has help them quickly recall the patrons and the time each order was placed. 

This looks like and easy win-win situation.  However, another way this view this situation may be yet another corporate initiative to squeeze every possible moment out of an employee’s work time in order to fast-track service and increase throughput, thereby maximizing profits.  I do not have anything against companies that provide outstanding customer service and optimize their bottom lines.  However, I do become somewhat skeptical when humans become further tethered to every piece of wireless or mobile technology that is available, ostensibly to make life easier, more enriching, and to enhance connectivity.  

I can definitely see potential abuses where patrons who are used to the fast food mentality of “you will have your meal in 10 minutes or its free” may bug the heck out of their server and create more pressure on restaurant staff.  In my opinion, eating in a restaurant is supposed to be an enjoyable and relaxing event.  Hopefully sanity will prevail and technology will remain the enabler and will not become the focus of our dining experiences.


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