The quest for efficiency and maximum profits has led some restaurateurs to do away with wait staff and enable customers to place orders through tablet computers installed at their dining table. The trend toward automation is not new. Major supermarkets began using self-checkout machines years ago. But new devices such as the iPad are expanding the practice to other industries.

One wonders how many jobs will be lost in the switch to automation. Also, what businesses, if any, will pass the additional profits made from eliminating staff on to remaining employees, or to reduced prices for their customers? –ARK

Mosaic with Los Angeles Times:

At Stacked in Torrance, which opened in May, iPads mounted on 60 tables enable patrons to flip through a touch screen to view pizza, burger and salad offerings. Diners can choose entrees and sides, pick out toppings, send their orders to the kitchen and divvy up the bill, all without talking to a staff person.

To pay, customers swipe credit cards through slots built into the iPad holders.

The co-founder of the restaurant, Paul Motenko, said he spent more than a year and $1 million developing the digital ordering regimen. It allowed him to open with a smaller-than-average staff, but he maintained that the hands-on system made customers feel more involved in the process.

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