Many millennials hate interacting with people, according to a new survey.
Nearly a third of people 18 to 24 prefer ordering from the drive-thru at restaurants because “they don’t feel like dealing with people,” according to a study by Ohio-based Frisch’s Restaurants, which owns and franchises 120 Big Boy Restaurants.
That’s bad news for fast-food employees.
It gives restaurant chains an added incentive to invest in automation technology, such as digital tablets that allow customers to buy food without human interaction.
Many restaurant chains, such as McDonald’s and Panera Bread, are already heavily invested in automation. Both have rolled out digital tablets at restaurants nationwide.
The technology has been praised for helping to improve customer-service speed and accuracy. But it also threatens to eventually replace human workers — especially as labour costs rise, according to analysts and labour activists.
Now with the millennial generation ageing, restaurants will face added pressure to automate the ordering process.
Andy Puzder, CEO of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., told Business Insider in March that he’s observed millennials’ distaste for social interaction in his restaurants.
“Millennials like not seeing people,” Puzder said. “I’ve been inside restaurants where we’ve installed ordering kiosks … and I’ve actually seen young people waiting in line to use the kiosk where there’s a person standing behind the counter, waiting on nobody.”
Puzder said that he’s considering opening a restaurant similar to San Francisco’s Eatsa that requires no human interaction.
He wouldn’t be the first to do so, and he probably wouldn’t be the last.