NYC Chicken Shop Replaces Cashier With Woman in Philippines On Zoom

The Zoom meeting info and password is written on a note facing customers.
The Zoom cashier at Sansan Chicken East Village.
The Zoom cashier at Sansan Chicken East Village. Image: Jules Roscoe
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A photo of a cashier Zooming into work at a fried chicken shop in New York City from the Philippines went viral on X this weekend. The cashier sits on a computer monitor on top of an empty cashier desk and a virtual background of the store’s logo. Brett Goldstein, who posted the photo, wrote that this was “insane” and said it “only takes a short hop to imagine the near future where this is an AI avatar.” 

The Zoom cashier is real. She works at Sansan Chicken, a small Japanese fried chicken shop nestled next to New York University’s campus in the East Village. The store has a touchscreen ordering kiosk similar to those that are common at McDonald’s. But it also has a separate setup with the Zoom worker, who also takes orders from customers. 

The iPad that would normally serve as a payment terminal reads “WELCOME TO MY STORE” in Comic Sans. When the cashier leaves to take a break, she switches her background to say “The cashier will be back :).” On a piece of paper, taped to the cash register and facing customers, is the handwritten Zoom meeting ID and password, presumably so a human employee at the restaurant can dial in the remote worker. 

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