One of the annual joys of returning to my in-laws' family for the holidays in rural Pennsylvania, besides hanging out with them of course, is seeing the deployment of technology-driven services not yet available on either coast.
Yes, that's right. We dwellers of either coast may think we have the best services enabled by technology, but we haven't seen anything yet.
Until of course you pull into a Sheetz convenience store in Pennsylvania.
There, besides getting gas, and other items available in a typical 7-11, you find made-to-order breakfast, lunch and dinner via automated kiosks, the type we find increasingly at airline check-in counters. This article from selfservice.org last year explains:
"Sheetz stores are a little different. The convenience chain that began in 1952 as Sheetz Dairy Store in Altoona, Penn., now hires baristas to pour gourmet coffee. Their store-branded MasterCards have RFID chips.
For the past 10 years, Sheetz stores have leveraged kiosks to move their made-to-order sandwiches. Each of the 327 Sheetz stores has multiple ordering stations.From those stations, customers input their orders, while being automatically prompted for cross-sells and up-sells. The orders are then moved to the appropriate production area of the kitchen, depending on what sandwich the customer selects."
It really is empowering in the extreme when you can custom make one's breakfast service down to whether one wants salt and pepper in the sandwich. The article goes on to explain the win-win benefits for all the parties concerned.
The make-to-order combinations for any food and gourmet drinks via the kiosks seem to rival the choices possible at one's local Starbucks.
And you don't have to talk to a Barista feeling pretentious saying things like "Grande Black double-cup skim with two Splendas". You do it with the privacy of your very own kiosk.
Wish we'd get this technology innovation closer to home in New York, LA and San Francisco.