In my house, food on the table was to be eaten. There was rarely ever any takeout, and none of us were picky eaters.
Then I started working at the restaurant.
I was introduced to a world of customers who were always seemingly in a hurry, and also wanted precisely ordered food.
Here, if you wanted noodles you had to specify which of the 11 kinds you wanted.
If you ordered a drink, you’d have to ask how much sugar, and if hot or cold.
Which kind of sauce do you want? There’s black pepper, curry, tomato, cream, Portuguese, onion, teriyaki.
No onions, no pepper, no oil, no MSG, no salt, no sugar? Sure thing.
And if an item is made wrong due to human error, the customer doesn’t want it.
But this post isn’t about food. It’s about our relationship with options.
As we go deeper and deeper into the world of consumer customization, we’ll need more ways for accuracy and less room for mistakes.
Just how much longer will we need cashiers or front-end workers?
And when will food be able to cook itself with minimal human supervision?
Can a burger be made without a line cook at the back of the kitchen?
Can a specialty coffee with special instructions be made without the touch of a barista?
We’re on a road to a more automated workforce. Our consumer behaviour demands it.