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I’ve just read an article titled “Not the Waiter’s fault! Why restaurant service is slow.” You can read the article here.

To summarise the article, a New York restaurant did an analysis to determine why they were getting complaints of slow service and people waiting long for tables. They viewed CCTV footage from July 2004 and then footage from July 2014 to see what was different about their service over a 10 year period. They determined that service was slower today because customers were so involved with their phones. They took longer to place an order because they fiddled with their phones and struggled to connect to the wifi. When food arrived they were taking pictures of it and some had to send food back to the kitchen for reheating. Then waiters were asked to take group shots of customers. Then people bumped into other people when walking out because they were texting.

The conclusion at the end of the article is an admonishing of customers; “Be more considerate!”

This article is among many around the world that bemoan what technology is doing to our society, that fret about people becoming anti-social because of it, that worry about the future of our children in a technological world.

In the case of this restaurant the solution cannot be stated as “be considerate” as if we should go back to a time when personal communication devices were not so powerful and didn’t dominate our daily lives. The solution instead should start with recognising that customers are different and the way the go about their lives is different. The solution therefore lies in adapting to this change. Telling your customers to be considerate is demanding they change to suit the business. That’s optimism! But also foolishness.

The chants of technology making us anti-social are ridiculous. We are social today in completely new and different ways. Worried about language being ‘destroyed’ because of SMS and Twitter speak? Language is evolving right before our eyes. Just like there is no going back to Shakespearian English there is no going back to a time B4 text lingo.

The mistake lies in measuring change by what is lost. We look back with nostalgia at something we no longer have. Loss will keep you rooted to the past. So rather than looking at what you are losing look at what you stand to gain or what you have now that you didn’t have before.

From a business and personal perspective we can either bemoan the times that have passed or we can be excited about the opportunities that change is bringing to us. It a lot more fun living in the future. And the future is now.

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