Food service creates iPad kids

If you are like me, you feel slightly anxious when ordering food. Especially when the line is long and several people are behind you, ensuring you properly convey the correct instructions for your order and answer any follow-up questions can be nerve-racking.

This feeling has caused me to order less complicated items and respond affirmatively to any follow-up questions without thinking if I need or want the additional item. With many restaurants now offering apps or third-party services allowing users to order online, avoiding ordering at the counter has become easier.

When I know I have a complicated order or don’t want to worry about ordering correctly, I just order on the app and pick up my food. I have even ordered on my phone while sitting inside the restaurant and plan to eat there just to avoid speaking at the counter.

The more I consider how I order my food, the more I think I am circumventing the real problem by avoiding ordering in person, and many others also do themselves a disservice by ordering online rather than talking to someone at the counter.

Ideally, I could eat every meal with family or friends. In an ideal world, I, or someone I know, would have prepared my food. Unfortunately, on a college campus, both of these things rarely happen since I am away from family, friends have schedules just as busy as mine and getting food is often easier than making it when I am busy.

I think food should have some human element to it, however small. In many cultures and throughout history, people have connected through food, whether preparing or enjoying food together.

When I order on an app for pick-up, I give up an opportunity to have a more personal way to get my food. It may seem slight, but talking to someone to get food can make the process feel better than ordering on the app.

It truly can feel disheartening to take my food and leave to eat it somewhere else by myself with zero human interaction. Few people would want to be served by a faceless, nameless machine, but that’s what it can feel like to me. There is something satisfying about interacting with someone over a meal, which interacting with an employee while ordering can partially fulfill. Even if it is just a small act, assigning a face to the source of my food feels much better.

Additionally, ordering on the app ultimately does not help to rectify the problem of being too anxious to order at the counter. Saying what you want to order isn’t a life-altering event, and taking five seconds longer at the counter will not infuriate the employee or people in line.

It may sound stupid, but ordering at the counter several times can demonstrate that it is not as big of a deal as my brain may say it is at the moment, and that there is no problem with taking my time to express myself. The low-stakes food ordering environment is an excellent place to practice being confident and expressing your wishes for those with social anxiety.

It would be much better for me and other people to form some minuscule connection with someone over food and take an opportunity for human interaction by ordering at the counter rather than on an app.

Unfortunately, with the rise of food delivery services, such as Doordash, Grubhub and UberEats, zero-interaction food delivery is tempting more and more people. This trend may contribute to less satisfaction with our food and lower social skills.

It is tempting to opt for delivery or contactless pickup. These options can often be faster and easier than the classic ordering method at the counter; however, these options may not always be the best of the bunch.

Through these food delivery services, someone could never have to leave their living space and never see or talk to anyone besides those they live with — if they live with anyone. This ability may be one more reason people keep their noses on their phones, contributing to decreased face-to-face interactivity.

Some restaurants are making the choice to order food at the counter or on the app for their customers by installing tablets where orders are placed rather than staffing a counter. Aside from the social and satisfaction negatives mentioned earlier, I think this can also give the restaurant an impersonal appearance.

I understand that removing employees standing at the counter lowers the costs of the business. Still, it is also vital for a business that serves food to feel welcoming and friendly to customers, which real staff can do best.

I don’t think everyone should give up online ordering, but it is important to be aware of the effects that it can have if you are someone who always resorts to online ordering just to avoid talking to people.

Sometimes, ordering on a business’s app or delivery is faster and more manageable after a stressful day or if you feel under the weather; however, I will do my best to continue ordering at the counter.