We accept cash, credit cards, and Microsoft cardkeys

One of the restaurants that opened at the new Microsoft Commons is Spitfire, which opened under its own name instead of one of the many wonderful alternatives proposed. At The Commons, the dining establishments operate in a variety of ways (cafeteria, buffet, fast casual, deli, etc.) but they share the common characteristic that you pay for your meal before you sit down to eat, and you clear your own table when you're done. In other words, it's a giant upscale food court spread out over two buildings.

Except for Spitfire, which has its own building and operates as a sit-down restaurant with table service.

One thing that I still can't get over is that you can pay for your lunch at Spitfire with your Microsoft cardkey. That somehow just seems wrong.

(This week is Share Our Strength's Great American Dine Out. Dine out at a participating restaurant and support efforts to help children at risk of hunger in the United States.)

Comments (11)
  1. porter says:

    > That somehow just seems wrong.

    There’s no such thing as a free lunch?

  2. JenK says:

    Oh, it’s not free. Unless they changed it recently, you deposit money into an account, which is then charged when you get lunch or dinner with the card.

    At least when they did punch cards you got $27 or $29 value for a $25 card.  With the cardkey system you tie up money whether you use it or not.

    But otoh, cardkeys are often clipped onto clothing, which makes them harder to misplace than wallets.

  3. Joseph Koss says:

    I work for a company that employs over 10,000 people at one location, and they have let 3rd party businesses (such as restaurants) set up shop.

    Yes, we can use our employee badges to pay, which cause a deduction on our next paycheck.

  4. Yuliy says:

    Part of what seems wrong about it is you’re letting your employee ID go out of sight for a nontrivial amount of time, I’d think. I hope the employees eating there trust the waiters with access to their buildings!

  5. Michael says:

    @Yuliy:  likely, the card is swiped at a portable terminal, and never out of sight of the owner.

  6. Secman says:

    Surely they are RFID cards that you just swipe near a sensor.   That’s what our companies access cards are like, it’s pretty cool.

  7. Joseph Koss says:

    Never out of sight where I am, but even if they were to go out of sight, all the higher security areas require someone on the inside to buzz you in.

    The badges themselves arent actually access cards. They are tracking/logging cards (swipe in where you are so that its possible to find out where you are, and to log who-did-what)

    Badges (or the paper-equivalent ‘idiot badge’ when someone forgets theirs) must be visibly worn at all times by nearly 100% of the staff. They also double as name badges, since with 10,000+ employees you will often be dealing with someone you arent familiar with at some point during the day.

  8. keith says:

    You write 16 sprocs and what do you get?

    Another day older and deeper in debt.

    St Peter don’t you call me cause I can’t go

    I owe my soul to the company bar

    Is that the vaguely wrong sensation?

  9. Aaargh! says:

    "At least when they did punch cards you got $27 or $29 value for a $25 card."

    Or they gave you $25 dollars of value, chargde $29, and then sold the $29 card for $25, giving you the impression you got more value for your money than you actually did.

  10. visualj says:

    That somehow just seems wrong.

    Is it because there is al..  al..  alcohol served there.  (hic)

    And you can deduct it from your paycheck…

  11. mike says:

    Dine out at a participating restaurant and support efforts to help children at risk of hunger in the United States.

    Or stay at home and donate the cost of a restaurant meal to your local food bank. Just a thought. :-)

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