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Restaurants' Switch To Tablets Is Trouble
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nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
6/11/2014 | 10:49:08 AM
It will take time
@David a nice post. I think shifting to tablets was on the card for some time but I feel that it will take sometime before customers will get used to them. I doubt that it will be a roaring success but it will help at few places especially the management of the restaurant as you have mentioned. I think to have win win situation I think the management need to work out where it will be suited the most not across the board all together.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 12:00:19 PM
Re: It will take time
Thanks, Nomii. I think people will get used ot them faster than you think. There are few places these days where there aren't touch screens. But even getting used to them doesn't mean that they will work as hoped. That requires good user experience, constant updates, and makign sure your backend and the kiosk stay compatible. 
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
6/11/2014 | 12:14:48 PM
Love paying this way, hate ordering
I would like to see a hybrid approach, where a human takes the initial order, based on your choice of a traditional or tablet-based menu, and then the device stays at the table to ask for refills on drinks, let kids play games if that's your thing, and then pay the check when you're ready as opposed to trying to flag down a server.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 12:17:49 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@Lorna- Seems fair enough. Though aren't you really just asking for a little bell like they have on Downton Abbey? Seems like a lot of money and IT trouble for that. 

Personally, I think this is either an all human or all self-service thing. Either you want to be about true service and a perosnal experience or you want it to be a fast food experience with a sticky table surrounding by fake antiques. 
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
6/11/2014 | 12:33:14 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
Well, I doubt this concept will ever get into really nice restaurants. But for a casual place where your objective is to get in and out quickly with minimum grief? I can see it. Already Legal Seafoods in the Boston area uses tablets for checkout. 

Seems like the objective needs to be: What is the easiest thing FOR THE CUSTOMER. Not tech for tech's sake. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 12:45:01 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
Agreed about the customer. I'm just wondering what the point of going to a table service restaurant is if you get no table service. 

I assume what is going to happen in the restaurant industry is what we're going to see in university education industry soon-- a stratified system where only the wealthy can afford personal service and face to face education and the poor will watch levtures on the internet. 

We might be left with "Fancy" restaurants and "fast food" which gets extended to mid-tier restaurants that currently have servers.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 12:46:54 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
The worst part of this might be that I thought "robot repair tech" and "server" were going to be the last two jobs on earth. I guess "robot repair tech" is goign to stand alone.
Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Ninja
6/11/2014 | 12:50:42 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
I haven't seen tablets for restaurant ordering & checkout locally but I am starting to see them as a check-in device in other places (health clinics, car repair, site-to-store merchandise pick up). I'm not impressed with the deployments I've seen thus far.

I'm afraid we're going to see more tech for tech's sake. David brings up a great point about aging operating systems and messy hardware over time. I have used self-checkout machines at the grocery store and they aren't wonderful. I fear the at table devices will not be a great addition to casual dining.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
6/11/2014 | 1:03:31 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
Chili's must have been testing these for awhile because I used one of these at the one in Green Bay where I live. We had a server, I'm pretty sure we placed our order with server but I did pay for meal using the device, was curious how well it worked.

I can see the appeal to Chili's, getting kids of customers to pay for games while they wait. But I remember thinking at time what impact it would have on the server's tips.

Kind of like a buffet place like Golden Corral, do you tip the person who comes by and says to let them know if you need anything? Since I never have that person do anything for me, I never leave tip. Not that I could anyway, you already pay when you come in and all I ever carry is debit card anymore. I see this same thing happening to restaurants who go this self serve route, devalues what you were tipping for.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 1:15:06 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@michelle- You are right. Check-in is a place you see it a lot. I'm surprised more restuarants haven't tried computerized (especially mobile) call-ahead seating and reservations with the success of Open Table. 

The thing that distrubs me most about self check-in is that check-in is the moment you most want to see a face. You are likely to have the most questions. You want a sense that a person knows you are there. 

Still, I can see why it is the most labor intensive and most devoid of revenue gaining opportunities, that I can see how it is tempting.
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