A Taco Bell customer is perplexed about a location they recently frequented that used kiosks to take customers’ orders instead of workers.
“So get this. Taco Bell now refuses to take your orders at the counter and says that you actually have to go over and do that little fucking system over there,” he says, referring to the computerized order kiosks that have become a staple at many fast food restaurants.
He continues, “They told us that [they] couldn’t take our order over there,” referring the main counter, “[And] that we had to use this little desk thing. Kiosk…we didn’t want to use the kiosk. We wanted to order through a person.”
Chances are if you’ve visited a fast food restaurant recently, that the store has featured some type of self-serve technology that doesn’t require the immediate attention of an employee to process your order.
@iwannagocampin its sad that we have come to a point that people wont help people. #tacobell #customerserviceproblems ♬ original sound – Brad Vaughn
Self Services kiosks in fast-food restaurants started around 2006 and have since seen a steady rise. Subway, McDonald’s, Burger King, and Arby’s are just a few to have all made use of the new technology. While consumer response to this shift in service is a mixed bag, most seemed peeved that ordering face-to-face was not an option.
“They are doing this at one near me. I’ve stopped going,” one viewer writes.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Taco Bell via email and Vaughn via TikTok for further information.
What factors have helped spark the burgeoning prevalence of self-service kiosks in the fast food industry? COVID-19 has played a part in this surge, but also the impending recession as a result of food inflation. Restaurant Dive reported that 99% of restaurants are taking steps to offset an impending economic downturn. Furthermore, 29% are considering raising prices and 38% are planning on automating operational activities.
Some enjoy this new technology. Many are used to ordering via a digitized screen: their smartphone. Consumers are long accustomed to using apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash to precisely customize their food orders. It is reported that more than 70% of customers prefer to order online rather than over the phone when the option is provided. Some think the same sort of logic applies to orders placed via in-store kiosks. One viewer comments, “I prefer using the kiosk/app,” and another went further, writing, “I think it’s due to customers modifying orders or that’s my hope anyway lol.”
One commenter thought that Vaughn’s ire towards the employees was misplaced: “Blame corporate, not the staff there’s usually a certain percentage of usage they are allowed to use the actual register when they install these.”