Restaurant Technology – Digital Restaurant Menus Appeal to Busy Customers

tablet ordering in restaurantIt’s considered rude to browse the web on your smart phone while seated at the dinner table, but in an increasingly tech-savvy world and competitive dining industry, restaurants are breaking their own rules. Some restaurants are looking for new ways to appeal to busy consumers, and to move as many happy customers in and out of their establishments in the most efficient way. As Mitch Lipka points out in his article, “Will digital restaurant menus get you to spend more?” one method is asking patrons to get more involved in the dining out experience by ordering or viewing menus on tablet devices such as the iPad®. We here at TAM® of Nevada really enjoyed this article and are interested to see if, and how, this technology will continue to grow, especially in the Las Vegas area.

The draw of digital menus includes the benefit of being able to offer more information about menu items without worrying about taking up too much real estate on a menu page. Diners are likely to spend more money and order additional items if they can see photos to go along with dish and cocktail descriptions. Additionally, there’s an opportunity to include allergen information, or even suggested wine pairings to go along with each dish.

Increasingly tech-savvy customers are seemingly open to the new trend. According to the National Restaurant Association, 41% of consumers surveyed said they have used a computer to view menus, order food or make reservations online in the last month. Additionally, 46% said that if offered they would use a smartphone to make a restaurant reservation or place an order at a touch-screen kiosk (National Restaurant Association).

Of course as with any new technology, digital menus and ordering also run the risk of becoming a passing fad. For another opinion on this new movement, check our Michael Austin’s article for the Chicago Sun-Times, “Pour Man: iPad wine lists let your fingers do the ordering.” Do you think moving away from paper menus and into digital menus will catch on and become mainstream? Only time will tell.

Have you seen these types of programs in use anywhere yet? What do you think about allowing customers to order off of digital menus: great idea or doomed to fail once the first drink is spilled on a device?

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