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Sep 6, 2012 11:19 AM

iPads as menus?

What are your thoughts on using iPads as menus in restaurants and shops? Does it end up being less/more cost effective? Do you charge a customer if they break/damage the device?

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  1. Charge the customer for damage? That's a sure way of scaring people away. I would consider iPad damage as part of the business cost, not a customer cost.

    I would suggest sticking with paper stock for menus, but have servers use iPads to enter orders at the table.

    1. This is an expensive solution to a simple problem. Paper menus are cheaper than ever, because restaurants can revise them and print them as needed.

      It doesn't make any sense for waiters to use them, either. What problem are you trying to solve?

      1 Reply
      1. re: GH1618

        I was more curious - I've heard of many places doing this now, and think similar thoughts as you. I just wondered if this is something we're going to start seeing more because it's actually useful? Or because it's trendy.

      2. Expensive solution to a non-problem.

        I have used an iPad wine list. Novel as hell but cumbersome to use and slow to display all the wines on the list. I can scan a list with my eyes in moments per page.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sal_acid

          I've also seen that at a restaurant in San Francisco CA. It all seemed a bit awkward and precious to me.

        2. I've seen wait staff use iPod touch (or similar) to take orders, and think that works well. The handheld devices sends orders automatically to the restaurant computer system, making them almost instantly available in the kitchen. This saves time for the waitstaff since they don't have to keep going back to a central terminal to enter orders, and I imaging it also reduces errors since there is one less layer of communication.

          I can see iPads being a novelty, but don't see much advantage in the long term. At current prices, they are not cost effective. As prices drop, the cost might even out, but not likely.

          We are planning to start using tablets to collect data from patients in a medical research setting, and would never dream of passing the damage costs on the participants. In the restaurant setting, I would like damage/breakage for iPads would be handled the same as broken dishes - a cost of doing business. There are plenty of cases and other accessories available to minimize damage.

          1. I don't even know why any restaurant would want to incur the expense.