I think Wendy’s owes the photography industry an apology.
In what is sure to be the first of many such changes in the fast food industry, many Wendy’s locations have decided to implement self-service kiosks in their stores. Customer interaction will soon be reduced to a touch screen on which consumers can order and pay for their meal. No longer will a Wendy’s employee guide you through your ordering process or answer your questions or make suggestions. It will all be done through a screen.
And I’m sure I speak for everyone with a camera when I say, PHOTOGRAPHERS WERE DOING THIS FIRST. Wendy’s stole our idea.
Oh sure, Wendy’s makes the news with this but who was reducing customer service and interaction LONG before they came along with their kiosks? Photographers.
We’ve been making images and slapping them online for the customer to deal with for years. Wendy’s is all up in everyone’s face with their new kiosks, but they simply took the idea from us. We removed ourselves long ago from client interaction. We shoot it, upload it and baby, WE ARE DONE. Who wants to mess with sitting down with clients and going over their images and answering questions and guiding them through the sales process? Please. That takes time and ability. I suspect the 75% of Wendy’s employees who are also photographers thought, “Hey, why doesn’t Wendy’s do what WE do?”
But, there is a bright spot in all of this.
In spite of the kiosks, Wendy’s still has to deliver a tangible product. That’s where we, as photographers, are still way ahead. When you can deliver frosty and fries in pixel form, and convince customers it will fill their empty bellies as much as the real thing, then we’ll be even.