Chick-Fil-A kiosk conundrum


Mollie Shiflett ’26 is a history major who may also major in linguistics. She plays on the Gold Women’s Club Soccer team for the College of William and Mary and is an avid fan of most sports — except golf. Email Mollie at

The views expressed in the article are the author’s own.

There are many things in the world that bother me: slow walkers, my laundry costing four dollars and the fact that my room is four thousand degrees right now. The list goes on. But right now, I’m going to talk about one of the things that bothers me the most: the new kiosks at the Chick-Fil-A on Richmond Road, which make the lives of its student patrons unnecessarily difficult.

My primary complaint with the kiosks is that no one takes your order, so no one remembers it. In the five or six times I’ve been to CFA this semester, three times I’ve gone just for a drink, and twice people have forgotten to get my large lemonade. I don’t ask for much, but if all I want to order is a drink, it shouldn’t take 15 minutes. Ever. Under any circumstances. 

In the good old days, if you wanted to order a drink, you’d get in line, order and then the guy who took your order would just fill up your drink right when you ordered it. I realize I may be in the vast minority of people who go to CFA just for a large lemonade, but what’s so wrong with that? Even better, under the old system, you’d have your drink the entire time you were waiting for your food, so you had a little something to sip on while you waited. I miss that.

And to those skeptics out there who say to me, “If you don’t want to use the kiosks, just use the GrubHub app,” I say, “Why?” I would still have to go to the CFA and wait in the giant chaos that the kiosks create.

Honestly, the kiosks are just unnecessary. You wait just as long to get to a kiosk as you would to order in a normal line, so I can’t tell what the reason for them is. Presumably it saves CFA money, but having been in the line waiting for the kiosks, it’s not worth it from a consumer’s point of view because it makes absolutely nothing more efficient.

All these kiosks do is retool and revamp the same old waiting time — but now with the added benefit of your orders getting forgotten. I have no problem with progress, but I fail to see how these kiosks make for a better customer experience, and that’s what dining should be about, right? It should be about creating the best customer experience possible, not massive chaos and unidentifiable blobs of people who either have or haven’t ordered — how can you ever tell, really? 

If you’re going to stick with the kiosks, there should be a more defined waiting area so that we can differentiate between who’s waiting for their order and who’s ordering or still needs to order. At least under the old system, no one had to work that hard to figure out where the freaking line was. All I’m asking for is a little bit of organized chaos. 

Too often in our society, improved technology, or even just more technology, is equated with being better, but when it’s not implemented properly, technology is just some fancy computers and a bunch of irritated people who just want a lemonade and would have gotten it by now this time last year. Maybe this is an unpopular opinion, but I just don’t see why we need them — as customers — unless it is to satisfy our strange desire as a society to not talk to other people unless absolutely necessary, which is a personality issue that I’m not even going to begin to try to explain. 

Maybe this entire article is an exercise in futility; maybe this is just a giant pet peeve that I’m blowing way out of proportion — to be honest, it definitely is a little bit of that, but what opinion isn’t? But mainly, I’d just like an explanation for the rationale behind introducing the kiosks because no matter how hard I rack my brain, I can’t figure out the point of them. Does it save CFA from having to hire more cashiers? 

I don’t have the actual numbers, but it’s not like CFA isn’t already making plenty, so if they’re doing this all for an extra few hundred dollars in savings then that’s a whole different issue. Maybe CFA did think it was more efficient? Maybe CFA thought that having four people ordering at once would make it easier, but all that does is back up the kitchen, if anything. 

Why? Just why?


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