Apple Technology Might Take Restaurants to the Next Level – Part 2
Posted on September 13, 2010
In my last blog I discussed how the iPod can be used as a POS system in a restaurant. Although much of this technology has a long way to go to be easy and convenient to use for most busy restaurants the reality is that the demand is growing so companies who design these interfaces and applications should take notice. In this blog I will cover another Apple technology that is making a name for itself, the iPad. This computer tablet with the same functionality as an apple computer (for the most part) but slimmer and easier to carry around. It is also very similar to an iPod only it is larger and has some more functionality. This device has caught the eye of many retail and food service companies as a way to take their menu to the next level.
In countries like Japan and Australia the iPad has already become the norm in many restaurants in replacing a traditional menu. Imagine having a menu that helps you decide what to order based off your preferences, allergies and even the weather! A menu that can make wine pairing recommendations as well as showcase a dish with high quality photos. That is exactly what you will get if you happen to visit ‘Global Mundo Tapas’ in the North Sydney Rydges Hotel. “We have something that presents really well, sells our food really well and is absolutely dynamic. The iPad menu would eventually make it possible to order food based on the weather or even match dishes to a person’s mood.” Says Craig Simpson, Ryges area general manager. (source)
Not to say there are not thousands of drawbacks for using an iPad as a menu but you have to admit it is a pretty cool idea to make an iPad into a menu and I could certainly see it put into good use in upscale fine dining establishments. There are so many pros and cons for iPod menus but wouldn’t you be impressed to walk into a restaurant an be able to order from an iPad? Here are some of the pros and cons I can think of:
- Easy to update all menus via computer and router: Anyone who has worked in a restaurant knows that an 86ed item can reek havoc on a restaurant’s staff. With this device you can update all the menus when an item runs out so that no one will order it anymore for that night. That is just one example of how to use this feature.
- Up sell: One of the neat features that Rudges in Sydney uses is the wine pairing application. When someone orders a certain dish the iPad will give recommendations of what wine will go best with that dish.
- A visual way to sell: patrons will be delighted to find that they can view the dish they are thinking about ordering in a variety of photos. This will help to visually sell your dishes.
- Back lit: The iPad is backlit so it will help patrons read the menu in dimly lit dining rooms.
- More helpful info for patrons: If someone has a food allergy they can simply click on the ingredients and see what goes into that dish. No longer will servers have to go back to the kitchen to ask if there are nuts in that dish.
- It’s just plain cool: The impression that your patrons will get from having this high tech feature will surly make them want to come back again and again…well if the food is good too!
- Education: the South Gate restaurant in the New York City uses the iPad as the wine menu for their over 650 wine selections. Not only can patrons choose their wine but they can get recommendations, learn about the region where the wine is from and about the different varietals of that region. (source)
- Theft issues - who wouldn’t want to walk out the door with one of these? This of course could be easily remedied with some security stickers and sensors at the door.
- High cost – few will argue that this type of menu will save on paper and printing cost but certainly that is not enough to pay for the amount of iPads you would need to use as menus. Not to mention the necessary replacement cost that will come along with it.
- Damages – as mentioned above these iPads are by no means indestructible and you can bet there will be some spills, falls and over all damages to the menus. Screen protectors and cases can help but damage is inevitable. The cost to replace can really hurt a restaurant. Until insurance companies agree to help cover the cost of damaged menus I doubt that many restaurants are going to want to risk it.
What do you think? Leave your comments below and let us know your thoughts on the issue.