Growing up, dinner was served by 6 p.m., to contact a friend you called them through the home telephone in the kitchen where everyone could listen to your conversation, even your annoying younger sibling. Now you can get in touch with someone through text message, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat; the list goes on.
There is no doubt, things have changed. Just as the past five years have seen a tremendous change in how we communicate interpersonally, in the coming years, the service and hospitality industry will also be revolutionized by technology.
Restaurants like Chilis and Olive Garden have already incorporated Ziosk, a tablet that allows customers to order refills, call their server and even be entertained. We have all had that experience where we asked the server not to add pickles to our sandwich but got them anyway, or asked for a coke but ended up with a root beer. In these situations, technology can ensure a smoother, more efficient experience.
Theme parks are embracing more efficient technologies as well. Disney now features MagicBands, which enable band holders to enter parks, open their hotel rooms and sign up for FastPass tickets. University of Florida senior Sarah Brown is a fan of the MagicBand, which she believes gives her a more complete experience.
Even McDonald’s is working on implementing a self-service kiosk to create ‘The Experience of the Future’, and Panera is following with Panera 2.0, which will allow customers to customize their orders and save favorite menu items through an app.
But all of this efficiency has left me wondering if change, particularly in the service and hospitality industry, is always a good thing. Technology has become a part of our society and continues to change and influence human interaction. It is interesting to see how life will be in the distant future with advances in technology. Technology does provide more innovation and efficiency in the industry, but where it will take us next will be an interesting to see.