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Service With a Swipe

FreshDirect was only the beginning. It was simply a matter of time (and technology) before you and your local food-and-drink purveyor decided you’d both be better off not speaking to each other. It’s good-bye counterman, hello machine.


Discovery Wines
10 Ave. A
Pro If you can’t tell your Savagnin from your Sauvignon Blanc—and don’t want to reveal your ignorance—just scan a bottle under one of eleven touch screens and get all the relevant info about the grape, the region, and the producer, plus recommended food matches.
Con The occasional typo and bland, distributor-generated prose underscore the need for more opinionated advice that does for wine profiles what Fairway’s Steve Jenkins did for cheese.

49 E. 19th St.
Pro Cut the long lunchtime line by ordering on the e-Touch screen and swiping your credit card; soon, the technology will enable online delivery.
Con The menu might not be current, as we discovered when we ordered a piece of sold-out carrot bread.

525 W. 42nd St.
Pro With over 100 ingredients on the SAT-like order form, a profile card, which records your last ten orders and your three favorites, is indispensable.
Con Good old-fashioned technical glitches: on a recent visit, the card technology was unavailable. “We’re having some problems with the company that supplied it to us.”

70 Park Avenue Hotel
70 Park Ave., at 38th St.
Pro Each room is to be equipped with a KioPhone, a gadget that allows guests to order room service without having an actual conversation with an actual person.
Con You’re in the greatest restaurant city in the world! Why are you ordering room service?


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