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No Chips, No Tips: How the Computer Chip Shortage Threatens Thousands of Restaurant Service Jobs


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Employees of D.C. restaurant chain Busboys and Poets training on a new contactless-ordering system.

The companies that make chip-based point of sale equipment are scrambling to come up with workarounds, like online payment and scannable tabletop codes that allow customers to order from their phones.

Credit: Amanda Voisard/The Washington Post

A lack of chips, computer not tortilla, is wreaking havoc on the already beleaguered restaurant and bar industry, the latest victim of a pandemic-induced worldwide shortage that has disrupted the manufacturing of smartphones, cars and more.

Computer chips are used in the systems that restaurants rely on to record customer meal orders and relay them to the kitchen. The chip shortage is creating headaches for existing restaurants and big barriers to entry for new restaurants.

Called "point of sale" or POS machines, these systems connect servers' handheld ordering devices to terminals and printers in the kitchen and dining room. At a moment when just about every restaurant in the country is short-staffed, not having enough handheld machines or terminals adds another layer of problems.

From The Washington Post
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