Restaurants' Switch To Tablets Is Trouble - InformationWeek

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Restaurants' Switch To Tablets Is Trouble
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Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
6/12/2014 | 4:02:40 AM
Touch scrrens on table
"Casual dining restaurants, including Chili's and Applebee's, will be rolling out new self-service kiosks using tablets in the next few months. The tablets will allow customers to order food, call their servers, and pay their checks without needing to interact with a human"

David, pizza hut already has similar facility. From your serving table (touch screen) you can order the required items and can make the payment. It also has the option to save your order for reuse on next visit.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
6/11/2014 | 8:11:34 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@David - I think this brings up a great point.  Don't most restaurants feel they have more to offer than just the food?  I'm guessing if you ask them, not many would put themselves in the "you just come here to eat" category even if that's the reality.

I personally would embrace this in even a Michelin star restaurant, but I'm that person who doesn't mind not having a live person.  There are plenty of people who feel the opposite.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 6:04:53 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
You don't go to these places for the ambience or social interaction. You're there to eat. And the exchange is rarely complicated enough that human interaction is needed -- unless maybe when little kids are involved. 


@Shane- Allow me to play devil's advocate. If ambiance and service don't matter at mid-tier restaurants why are they hiring all the perky coolege kids who dance or sing or wear clever buttons or look good in barely anything? If the ambiance doesn't matter, why are they buying all those antiques or theming to music or movies or sports?

It seems like for many mid-tier restaurants that is ALL that matters. Maybe they've been making mistakes all along and it doesn't matter.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 6:04:53 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
You don't go to these places for the ambience or social interaction. You're there to eat. And the exchange is rarely complicated enough that human interaction is needed -- unless maybe when little kids are involved. 


@Shane- Allow me to play devil's advocate. If ambiance and service don't matter at mid-tier restaurants why are they hiring all the perky coolege kids who dance or sing or wear clever buttons or look good in barely anything? If the ambiance doesn't matter, why are they buying all those antiques or theming to music or movies or sports?

It seems like for many mid-tier restaurants that is ALL that matters. Maybe they've been making mistakes all along and it doesn't matter.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
6/11/2014 | 5:40:39 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
Kiosks or tablets for ordering/paying make perfect sense at mid-tier chain restaurants. You don't go to these places for the ambience or social interaction. You're there to eat. And the exchange is rarely complicated enough that human interaction is needed -- unless maybe when little kids are involved. I don't mean to dehumanize the situation and food servers will surely lose their jobs, but touch-screen ordering, if done right, is a win for the customer (order meal and pay more efficiently) and the restaurant (boost revenue).
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
6/11/2014 | 4:24:11 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
I've seen iPads as self-service ordering devices done well in San Francisco eateries. But the app UI/UX has to be exceptional. One thing more frustrating that being in line behind someone taking a long time at a cashier is being in line behind someone taking a long time with a self-service device due to technological confusion.
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
6/11/2014 | 4:00:05 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
And the doctor says, "I'd turn him around so it looked like he was coming in." 

*laughs* I like that ;-)

I can't recall, but I'd bet that when you do the check-in process, you also release the from liability. That's a pure guess, but it's what I'd do!
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 3:55:44 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
@jgherbert- I'm not familiar with the company, but there's an awful lot of construction going on at my two nearest pharmacies so I'm guessing I soon will be. 

I still think they better be highly insured for the first time that someone dies in their waiting room. 

Reminds me of the old joke about a doctor giving a lecture at a medical school and he's asked the quesiton: "What would you do it a patient was just leaving your office and suddenly dropped dead?"

And the doctor says, "I'd turn him around so it looked like he was coming in."
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
6/11/2014 | 3:47:59 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
"I feel like that's what people are for in a technological world-- to cover times when computers aren't ready to do it yet."


You are undoubtedly correct. Just like we'll always need somebody in a restaurant, it's helpful to have a face. My guess - and it's just that - is that the financial model of something like Minute Clinic is based precisely on it being a self-service check-in, so they don't have to employ anybody to do it. In this particular case, Minute Clinic is not a company owned by CVS - they are a true concession within the stores, and totally self-contained, so they're also missing the ability to get that resource from, say, the pharmacists or the shop staff as part of the existing overhead.

This is a really interesting discussion. It certainly raises some fascinating questions about how our experience may change in the coming years.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 3:45:19 PM
Re: Love paying this way, hate ordering
 

That might be nice in addition to an on-table tablet offering, but if you make it exclusive to smart phones you automatically create a Have versus Have Nots situation and offer (effectively) prioritized service to those with phone hardware capable of using it to order, and I can't help feeling that this might alienate a certain proportion of the customer base.

@jgherbert- I don't look at it as an advantage so much as an add-on. The server is still there for the phoneless. But I get your point. You need to make sure you market it so it doesn;'t make you feel like you are missing something for not having your phone. 
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