The days of indecision and miscommunication in the drive-thru lane of a fast-food restaurant could be long gone. Taco Bell recently launched an app that enables customer to order and pay for it straight from a smartphone.
"It gives customers control. They don't want to talk to people all the time," Taco Bell chief marketing officer Chris Brandt tells Fast Company. And the app allows for more creativity in what to order.
"The app offers unlimited menu customization options," reports Eater. "Users can, for the first time, build their own unique creations using dozens of ingredients."
Using the app also allows customers to skip the line when going in to pick up food. When a customer gets within 500 feet of Taco Bell, they will get a phone notification saying, "Looks like you've arrived. Would you like us to start preparing your food?" reports CNN.
National chains aren't the only businesses moving away from interpersonal and toward digitized customer service. In fact, small business owners were some of the first to make the move to utilizing devices for customer service needs.
Carla Hesseltine, the owner of Just Cupakes in Virginia Beach, Virginia, "got the idea for using touch-screen technology … after seeing a nearby juice business do something similar," reports The Wall Street Journal. By maintaining a few tablet devices for customers to place their orders, "she could eliminate the 10 workers who currently ask customers what they would like to eat."
The University of Oxford conducted a study last year on the future of employment, in which they estimated that all U.S. "food preparation and serving workers, including fast food (workers)" have a 92 percent chance of having their jobs computerized.
"What we’re facing isn’t your grandfather’s unemployment problem. It does have something to do with modern technology, and it will be with us for some time," Tyler Cowen wrote in The New York Times. However, he goes on to write that one should shouldn't jump to the conclusion that technology will take over all jobs.
"After all, history has seen many waves of innovation and automation, and yet as recently as 2000, the rate of unemployment was a mere 4 percent. There are unlimited human wants, so there is always more work to be done."
"How can we help workers ride the wave of technological change rather than be swamped by it?" David H. Autor and David Dorn asked in The New York Times. "One common recommendation is that citizens should invest more in their education. Spurred by growing demand for workers performing abstract job tasks, the payoff for college and professional degrees has soared; despite its formidable price tag, higher education has perhaps never been a better investment."
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