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OPINION: Campus kiosks are not an improvement

OPINION%3A+Campus+kiosks+are+not+an+improvement

There has been a rise in the use of technology to benefit the American fast-food experience. Kiosks have become popular in these restaurants and are making their way into App State’s campus dining. This system is of course very new and needs to be worked out so it can run efficiently and benefit the customers as well as the staff working in these establishments. But as of right now, it seems to be making more work then making the workload easier for the current employees of campus dining of App State.

Kiosks have been used in other industries for years, such as aviation and self-checkout in supermarkets. However they gained popularity in the fast food industry during the COVID-19 pandemic because they limited contact between individuals and were convenient to use. They cut down waiting times in line and helped orders go straight to the kitchen to be prepared.

Multiple restaurants have implemented the use of kiosks such as Taco Bell, Subway and Wendy’s. Places that paved the way for the use of kiosks in their restaurants are McDonald’s, which started introducing them in 2015, and Panera Bread, which introduced them in late 2015.

While citizens are living in a post-pandemic society, the kiosks are here to stay because they are favorable to both the owners and the customers. Owners are saving money because it allows them to decrease the amount of workers needed while also raising the prices of their products to meet the demands of inflation. Customers enjoy kiosks because they allow them to create their own order, see all their available options and easily make changes to their order. The kiosk also gives customers peace of mind that they can make decisions about their order without having to stress too much about a line waiting for them.

While kiosks might be seen as this new revolutionary piece of technology, they are slowly taking away jobs. As of right now, the fast food industry is going to be the first industry replaced by technology. In the next 15 years, 30 million jobs in America will be automated. So is the use of technology in the workforce really beneficial? What will happen when all jobs are replaced by technology? Where will the people of the future generations work? How will they make a living in a society controlled by technology?

Now, on the campus of App State, kiosks have been implemented into the campus dining system, specifically Cascades, The Wired Scholar and Crossroads. The process of these kiosks is similar to the process at any other fast food restaurant. Customers pick what they want and make the necessary changes to their order. But the kiosks at App State are not as effective as they are in other restaurants. In the case of Cascades, you choose what you want, get your receipt, wait for your order to be prepared and then wait in another line to pay for your order. This method seems very inefficient to how it was previously with ordering, paying and waiting for your order in the same place, then leaving. 

In some cases the kiosks are not even operating correctly. Someone can order on the kiosk but the order does not get processed, causing the waiting time to be longer, confusion for the customer and the staff and overall dissatisfaction for the customer. While the system is ineffective, it is also taking away necessary jobs. On campus jobs provide finances for students trying to pay for their tuition, so why is that job being replaced by a kiosk?  

The kiosk is seen as a wonderful invention, but it is not as effective as an actual human. Nothing can replace the efficiency of a person taking your order and preparing it. The future is about humans, not technology. The use of technology should work together with humans and be used as an aid, not replace their jobs. The sooner it is realized that people cannot always rely on some faulty systems of technology then the better our society will progress.

 

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About the Contributor
Kaylie Morales, Opinion Writer
Kaylie Morales (she/her) is a freshman digital journalism major. This is her first year with The Appalachian.
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