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Gingersnap
02-16-2011, 11:35 AM
iPads replacing restaurant menus, staff
By Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY


The first time most folks visit this restaurant, it won't likely be for the food, wine or beer.

It'll be for the iPads.

When the new chain Stacked: Food Well Built opens its first of three Southern California units in May this one in Torrance sitting atop each of the fast-casual chain's 60 tables will be an iPad that folks will use to design and order their meals.

The two co-founders who founded the BJ's Restaurant chain plan to place 100 iPads in each restaurant. Diners will use them to look at meal options; design their own burgers, pizzas and salads; and, if they want, use the iPads to pay for the meals.

But, says co-founder Paul Motenko, "We're not going to market it as an iPad restaurant." When Stacked founders first considered a concept with guests creating their own meals and ordering them on tabletop devices, the iPad didn't yet exist. IPads were the breakthrough, Motenko says.

Others have tried iPads. Restaurants by Delta Air Lines gates at New York's John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airport installed iPads at tables that let guests custom-order meals. Bone's Restaurant in Atlanta uses iPads for its wine list. Co-owner Richard Lewis says wine sales jumped 20% since the iPads were added six months ago

Someday, they'll be at all restaurants, Lewis says. "It's the future."

The future of restaurant ordering and design may be digital. "The printing of menus will fade as iPads and other devices replace them," says consultant Dennis Lombardi.

Young people, in particular, want to see more technology in restaurants, says Hudson Riehle, research chief at the National Restaurant Association. In a recent survey, two of three 18- to 34-year-olds said they'd favor restaurants with high-tech gear.

That also explains why the chain's upcoming locations Torrance, San Diego and Cerritos are near movie complexes in very active malls. That's where young folks congregate.

But, Riehle warns, "I want to see industrial-strength iPads. It can be a jungle on the tabletop."

Interesting. There are already some McDonalds outlets in Denver that use touch-pad ordering. They almost have to since the staff can't speak or understand English.

If this catches on (and I don't see why it won't) there goes another low-skill job sector that accommodates illegal aliens and no-skill high school and college grads.

USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2011-02-16-ipadcafe16_ST_N.htm)

ralph wiggum
02-16-2011, 12:22 PM
If I get my food and drinks faster, I'm all for it.

fettpett
02-16-2011, 12:57 PM
at $500 a pop, don't expect to see them in very many restaurants, not unless a cheaper tablet comes out soon

Novaheart
02-16-2011, 01:14 PM
at $500 a pop, don't expect to see them in very many restaurants, not unless a cheaper tablet comes out soon

If you want a shock, go price restaurant chairs and tables. The restaurant quality stuff (as opposed to what some try to get away with) is amazingly expensive but built to last.

Chairs can easily cost $175 a piece

fettpett
02-16-2011, 01:23 PM
If you want a shock, go price restaurant chairs and tables. The restaurant quality stuff (as opposed to what some try to get away with) is amazingly expensive but built to last.

Chairs can easily cost $175 a piece

yeah, thats one thing, having a good quality chair is fine, but we're talking about a freaking IPAD!! to take orders on, plus you run the risk of them being stolen.

Gingersnap
02-16-2011, 01:26 PM
yeah, thats one thing, having a good quality chair is fine, but we're talking about a freaking IPAD!! to take orders on, plus you run the risk of them being stolen.

They will be built into a fixed device - just like the touch-pads at those Denver fast food places. The cost of the devices will be nothing compared to the savings in labor costs. Nothing.

ralph wiggum
02-16-2011, 01:30 PM
They will be built into a fixed device - just like the touch-pads at those Denver fast food places. The cost of the devices will be nothing compared to the savings in labor costs. Nothing.

Labor is awfully cheap at the restaurant level, Ginger.

Gingersnap
02-16-2011, 01:39 PM
Labor is awfully cheap at the restaurant level, Ginger.

Not that cheap. Not only do you reduce the McWage but you reduce a lot of insurance and liability, accounting functions, administrative overhead, time lost for sick/vacation days, scheduling headaches, and customer complaints.

fettpett
02-16-2011, 01:46 PM
I bet it bombs...as much as it's a nice gizmo, having human interaction is something that most people look for when they go to a restaurant, besides this isn't going to get ride of anyone, just paper menus. You still need someone to serve the food and make it.

fettpett
02-16-2011, 01:47 PM
They will be built into a fixed device - just like the touch-pads at those Denver fast food places. The cost of the devices will be nothing compared to the savings in labor costs. Nothing.

This restaruant isn't a fast food place...it sounds more like a Applebee's type than anything else

Gingersnap
02-16-2011, 02:01 PM
I bet it bombs...as much as it's a nice gizmo, having human interaction is something that most people look for when they go to a restaurant, besides this isn't going to get ride of anyone, just paper menus. You still need someone to serve the food and make it.

I never go out to a restaurant to chit chat with the servers - I chit chat with my friends and husband. More and more restaurants are already breaking down the server functions. It's not unusual at all for the server to take your order but some other person to deliver the food and take care of the drinks. Even then, a lot of people don't have much of a problem picking up their own food in a budget or family restaurant. It's much faster that way.

People under 30 are especially ready to jettison social interaction in retail and food service. For a really large number of people, the ideal shopping and meal experience means never having to interact with a random live employee. They're happy to be out and about with their RL friends but they don't have any interest in accommodating paid employees if there's another option.

I don't think the old school model of food service will collapse over this innovation but I bet that it occupies a big chunk of the industry in 10 or 12 years time.

fettpett
02-16-2011, 02:07 PM
I never go out to a restaurant to chit chat with the servers - I chit chat with my friends and husband. More and more restaurants are already breaking down the server functions. It's not unusual at all for the server to take your order but some other person to deliver the food and take care of the drinks. Even then, a lot of people don't have much of a problem picking up their own food in a budget or family restaurant. It's much faster that way.

People under 30 are especially ready to jettison social interaction in retail and food service. For a really large number of people, the ideal shopping and meal experience means never having to interact with a random live employee. They're happy to be out and about with their RL friends but they don't have any interest in accommodating paid employees if there's another option.

I don't think the old school model of food service will collapse over this innovation but I bet that it occupies a big chunk of the industry in 10 or 12 years time.

I'm not talking about "chit chatting" with the server, but having someone coming over and making sure you get your drinks refilled, that the food is to your liking, etc...

getting rid of paper menus I get, but it's not going to get rid of the labor associated with it

I'm under 30 and very much into Tech...

Gingersnap
02-16-2011, 02:37 PM
I'm not talking about "chit chatting" with the server, but having someone coming over and making sure you get your drinks refilled, that the food is to your liking, etc...

getting rid of paper menus I get, but it's not going to get rid of the labor associated with it

I'm under 30 and very much into Tech...

We'll have to agree to disagree. Much lower paid workers already deliver food and fill up drinks in a lot of places and a lot of places already have customers pick up their own orders and get their own drinks. I see it as big growth sector; especially if the chains offer better/different food from the usual sandwich-and-drink fast food offerings.

Arroyo_Doble
02-16-2011, 02:48 PM
We'll have to agree to disagree. Much lower paid workers already deliver food and fill up drinks in a lot of places and a lot of places already have customers pick up their own orders and get their own drinks. I see it as big growth sector; especially if the chains offer better/different food from the usual sandwich-and-drink fast food offerings.

Ghengis Grille (sp?) has you pick your food and give it to the cook. A really interesting place that I frequent (about once a month). But as a model for all resturants, no. I like the traditional set up too much to move completely to the "self-service" way of dining out.

Novaheart
02-16-2011, 02:55 PM
Labor is awfully cheap at the restaurant level, Ginger.

Even so, I worked at an exclusive club where the members wrote their own orders. I have no idea how the practice got started, but all the waiters had to do was pick up the checks, and bring the orders. It cut down on the chit chat, which I think may have been the original plan.

fettpett
02-16-2011, 03:34 PM
We'll have to agree to disagree. Much lower paid workers already deliver food and fill up drinks in a lot of places and a lot of places already have customers pick up their own orders and get their own drinks. I see it as big growth sector; especially if the chains offer better/different food from the usual sandwich-and-drink fast food offerings.

maybe, but they work for some people but most people go out to eat don't want to do anything more than order and talk with whoever they are with, unless they are going to a buffet or fast food, most expect good service even at little hole in the wall dinners