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Virtual and poorly paid waiters: the controversial trend that is growing in New York restaurants

In an initiative that defies convention, some restaurants in the city of NY They are adopting a radical model: customer service through virtual waiters, an innovation that raises both ethical labor and experience issues for diners.

Establishments like Sansan Chicken are leading this change, with virtual assistants located in remote countries serving customers at via Zoom, and to those who can pay them less than the established minimum because they are outside the country. The founder of Happy Cashier, Chi Zhang, promoter of this idea, defends this solution as a response to the economic challenges exacerbated by the pandemic.

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Despite generating controversy on social networks, these restaurants have expanded their presence throughout various emblematic neighborhoods of the Big Apple, from Queens to Manhattan. However, this new way of operating raises serious questions about working conditions and quality of service.

The virtual waiters, located in the Philippines and hired by Happy Cashier, face precarious salary conditions, with salaries of around 3 dollars an hour, well below the local minimum wage of $16. Additionally, due to the time difference, they often have to work complicated shifts. This discrepancy highlights a significant gap in the compensation and highlights the ethical complexities of the model.

Despite efforts to ensure a seamless experience, some customers have expressed difficulty interacting with virtual assistants and placing orders. Coexistence in shared spaces with other establishments also creates uncomfortable situations and raises questions about the long-term viability of this approach.

Although legal in the United States, this outsourcing model defies labor regulations and presents significant challenges for remote workers, who face a time difference of up to 12 hours.

Zang, for his part, hopes to implement these virtual waiters in at least 100 restaurants, and defends this solution in the face of the rental problems present in these cities and economic problems derived from inflation.

Source: Elcomercio

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