For a number of years I’ve been impressed with the wireless credit-card machines with which many European restaurants equip their wait-staff.
This substitution saves workers time (and also that of their customers). This technology is now adopted more widely in the U.S.
But on this trip I’ve noticed yet another innovation.
In several restaurants wait-staff have wireless devices that also allow them to punch in the customer’s order and send it directly to the kitchen — again saving labor time (walking back to the kitchen) and cutting costs.
Why is this device less prevalent in the U.S.? My guess is that it’s because labor costs are higher in Europe, so there’s a greater incentive for European restaurants to make this capital-labor substitution than for American restaurants.