Keeping Tabs

I like technology. I like the convenience of being able to access information at a single click, store my important documents in a secure location, and peruse photographic memories at a moment’s notice. Sometimes, however, I think we might be pushing things a little too far.

Recently, I read an article which indicated that certain restaurants will now be putting iPads on their tables. Why, one wonders, would a restaurant do something like this? To make your life more convenient! (Or so it would seem.)

Remember that evening when you just couldn’t seem to get a waiter to serve you? Have you ever been frustrated with an incomplete order or one that was altogether wrong? Gone are the days of poor, personal service. Now, at the click of a few buttons, you can order off your restaurant’s extensive menu; peruse the desserts while enjoying dinner; and request more to drink with the swipe of your finger.

Playing with iPad

While, on the surface, this might seem like a wonderful idea, I wonder if we are missing something. What happened to actually wanting personal service? We don’t go out to eat just to stuff our faces with food we didn’t have to cook; it’s for the atmosphere and the leisurely fellowship. Why would we want to remove personal contact and communication from our dining experience?

Interestingly, using devices to order meals is actually adding a significant amount to your dinner tab. Studies are showing that people who order at such restaurants are spending more money. There has been a 30% increase in appetizer sales and another 20% in desserts. What seems to be the culprit? Those pretty pictures! We all like looking at gorgeous pictures of sumptuous meals; don’t we? Well, those pictures just might add a few more dollars to your tab.

As a side note, one also has to wonder what this will do for our economy. More technology generally means fewer people being employed. What will happen to all those kids trying to work their way through college?

Truthfully, I have yet to enter a restaurant which offers this service; we don’t tend to eat out a lot. The idea does have some merit, but I’m not completely sold. I like talking to my waiter and getting personal service. I enjoy seeing a smiling face and being able to ask questions. I want a human being with a mind with whom I can talk.

I get enough technology during the rest of my day. Leave my dinner table alone…

Have you ever dined at such a restaurant? I’d love to hear your take.



10 thoughts on “Keeping Tabs

  1. I have never been at such a restaurant but I don’t think I want to. My biggest pet peeve is bad customer service. I am not talking slow service. I can deal with that to a point as long as the food is good when I get it. My problem is the people that have yet to realize that customers are the reason for you job not an interruption of it. This just sounds like a way of not having to deal with people. My husband and I work one the camping industry where he is the food service director. I understand customer service and I am not surprised by this turn of events. I think I will steer clear though. I like person customer service.


  2. We have a number of restaurants here in Singapore that offers this service. It makes ordering easier when you’re with a big group. Some Japanese restaurants have LCD screens for you to order your sushi. Especially helpful if you can’t find what you want on the conveyor belt, and the waiters nowhere to be seen.


  3. I encountered something similar at Disney. I feel the way you do but about T.V.s in restaurants. I go out to eat with my family and atleast one of my guys is staring at the screen. I try to sit where there isn’t a T.V. but they have several. Grrrr… :).


  4. I love restaurants that use ordering system. I love I can order an item the way I want instead of hoping the waiter really understood the changes I made. Example: I hate lemon in my ice tea. I order Ice tea, no lemon.” Simple you would think. Not. Half the times getting with lemon.

    I love clicking on a button and 3 minutes later getting my drink refil instead of waiting for the waiter to ask me in I need more. I love the ease a check can be split up when multiple are paying. I just wish more restaurant had the systems.


    • Thanks for sharing! I could see how this might be beneficial for groups and for ease of ordering. Do you never miss the personal interaction though? Or is there interaction, but on a smaller scale? Do you find yourself ordering more or less than before? (Sorry, just curious.)


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