Tablet Technology

With the iPad rumors surrounding Apple’s October 22, 2013 media day, I thought of our previous post about tablet technology in restaurants and wanted to share it again.

I’ve heard stories about restaurants using tablets for wine lists and for menu selection. Then there are also those restaurants where they are used for payment processing. And I’ve even read stories where some restaurants have installed tablets table side to handle the entire ordering process so customers only interact with people who seat.

I’m both intrigued and troubled by what this means for the restaurant industry.

A tablet can be very helpful in narrowing down the characteristics or type of wine one would prefer, but a sommelier can still help with the final selection. And the server plays a critical role in the meal – suggesting an appetizer or describing the ingredients in an item can’t be easily replaced with a menu on the tablet. If I have questions about something who do I ask?

Every one of us has probably complained about bad service at a restaurant before and how it really caused a negative impression on the overall experience. But what about no service? What does that do to the dining experience? With so many restaurant choices these days, owners need to think about how every decision they make affects the customer’s experience and their likeliness to return and to recommend.

If you are considering a tablet or two (or more) for your restaurant, you also need to think about how many items you need to sell to make up the cost of the tablet(s). And if you are going to use this as an ordering tool how many sales of high-profit items are you going to miss out on because no one is suggesting them? Another thing to consider is how likely they are to disappear. No one wants to think their employees would steal from them, but it could happen and then, not only are you out the money you also no longer have the tablet.

Now let me be clear – I’m not anti-tablet. In fact they can be very useful in a restaurant for tracking and managing inventory, storing recipes and or even scheduling and any necessary reporting. I just don’t think they should be a replacement for people and good service.

Paul Motenko, co-founder of Stacked Restaurants LLC is quoted in Nation’s Restaurant News about this very subject. He says, “If you’re using this technology it has to be for the benefit of the guest.” I couldn’t agree more.

Where do you stand on the great tablet debate – for or against and why?



Topics: Company News