Have you ever wished you could just walk into a restaurant order your food and go pick up it up when it’s ready? Like take-out to dine-in. I have. Currently, the going rate of 3-4 quick interactions with a server is 20% of your bill. To me, it’s usually not worth it – I’d rather spend my $5-10 on an appetizer or another drink, and I think many others are beginning to feel the same way.

McDonald’s just made a big announcement that they are beginning the transition to ordering through kiosks or their mobile app in all 14,000 of their locations. You may think this only makes sense for a fast food. Cost is a huge factor and they have relatively simple menus. While it’s astonishing that most fast food chains haven’t already adopted this, they are far from the only restaurant category that will benefit from making the change. A lot of us would be happy to just order on our devices or a screen in the restaurant and get our own plates and drinks if it means we save 15-20%. The first few major chains to figure that out will be hugely rewarded. It may start out with mid-level restaurants offering “self-service” and “full-service” areas, with the former being similar to a take-out counter that happens to have tables nearby.

This is a major change to a longstanding cultural norm and I’m sure many chains will be wary to jump “all-in” on this approach. Eventually, a “server-less experience” will be necessary just to compete, and at some point, it’s likely only higher-end restaurants will still have servers (and this will very much be seen as a luxury). Smaller chains and single-property restaurants may take a bit longer to adopt the ordering tech as well, and may even revert to paper ordering forms in the interim. Of course, this is yet more bad news for the workforce but it’s something we need to start preparing for now.

When was the last time you relied on a paid elevator operator to push the button for you?