Thursday, July 03, 2008

Automated Fast Food Error Messages

Errors messages when ordering fast food at an airport? Have your error message Your Way! When I saw this blue screen of death, I had to try this novel payment system at Burger King. Sadly, the chain hired a cashier to sit next to the automated ordering system. She physically swiped the card and pressed the buttons for me. Hopefully in the future such intervention will not be necessary, but the machines must not be too robust. Windows.

Japan has already mastered the art of automated payment. There are some ramen restaurants where a customer would never even see eye-to-eye with a wait staff member. Here's an example from a ramen restaurant I tried in Fukuoka. Most restaurants have automated kiosks to order food.

Table-side Credit Card Readers

At Legal Seafoods in Washington Reagan Airport, I had my first experience with table-side credit cards in the USA.

Table-side credit card readers are popular in Europe. Instead of swiping a credit card at the counter, the customer is provided a self-contained unit at the table. The idea is to reduce fraud by wait staff (e.g., surreptitious extra swipes). But not all wait staff are comfortable with table-side units because of the culture of American dining. The user interface is clumsy. When wait staff add their own annotated buttons to a machine, you know that the user interface was not designed well. Read more about table-side credit cards from another blog.