Waiters Will Be Replaced by Apps – Alan Sytsma April 2015

Chefs prepare food at The Test Kitchen, at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock outside Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post

It’s always dangerous to look to Florida — where headlines like “Senior Citizens Flock to Strip Club Offering Free Flu Shots” are the norm — for a glimpse of anything resembling forward-thinking progress, but here it is. At Walt Disney World, the Beauty and the Beast–themed Be Our Guest restaurant (“THE hot spot for dinner in Disney World,” per Yelp) offers one of the most high-tech sales systems of any restaurant in the world. Instead of waiting to be served by a waiter, customers can order their food online — up to 30 days before their actual reservation. When they do get to the restaurant, the park’s radio-enabled wristbands automatically alert staff members and indicate which table a group ends up choosing. French onion soup and vegetable quiche just arrive — and the customers don’t interact with any kind of traditional “waiter.”

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