We’ve all been there. You go to order at a restaurant, but instead of being handed a menu by a friendly server, you’re met with an unromantic QR code that leads you to a website that may or may not load. So while you’re on your phone, you might as well check your inbox or Instagram, right? Now your entire table is glued to their screen, and the feeling of togetherness has dwindled before you’ve even gotten your drinks.

While technology is seeping into every aspect of life these days, there are some spaces that should probably be kept sacred — particularly bars and restaurants. Sure, putting menus online and offering contactless payment during the pandemic was helpful and more safe, but after years of keeping a distance, bar-goers are craving the warmth of hospitality. People are going out with the goal of experiencing something memorable as opposed to looking at the same screen they would if they were ordering takeout at home.

Beyond having a convivial exchange with your server or even just putting phones away during your meal, there are some basic rules of dining etiquette that technology seems to disregard. A server would never come to your table and announce the bill total aloud, but some of the tableside payment systems blurt out the payment due for them, which many guests would prefer to keep private.

On this episode of the “VinePair Podcast” Adam, Joanna, and Zach discuss the impact of technology on customer experience in bars and restaurants, covering everything from guest grievances to restaurants’ incentives to keep these systems. Will these relics of the pandemic continue to prevail? Or will this kind of tech get powered down as customers grow tired of screens intruding on yet another part of their day? Tune in for more.

Joanna is reading: Have We Reached Peak Bourbon?
Zach is reading: Drinks Brands Keep Releasing Shoe Collabs and Sneakerheads Can’t Get Enough
Adam is reading: An Oral History of Brooklyn’s Beloved Long Island Bar

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