Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
May 12, 2013 07:54 PM

iPad menu

First time I've been to a restaurant where the menu is on an iPad.

They made good use of it. Posting glamor shots of the food. Oddly no real description. Was a little irksome not being able to see everything on one page.

Wondering if others had come across this and I am just late to this trend.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I use an iPad, but I don't take it to a restaurant. I expect a restaurant menu to be printed.

    1. I find iPad menus to be annoying. Give me a printed menu please.

      iPad wine lists are worse. Annoying, inefficient, not improved in any way over an actual list.

      A step backward.

      9 Replies
      1. re: sal_acid

        I'm curious as to how an iPad menu can be less efficient. It's certainly more efficient for the restaurant in that menus can be continuously updated with basically no cost.

        1. re: lamb_da_calculus

          Might be more efficient for the restaurant, as they do not have to give any explanation of the dishes, just a few animated images.


          1. re: Bill Hunt

            That is not efficiency. It's laziness and blatant stupidity on the part of the people who created this ridiculous idea.

            I know I sound all snarky and bitchy about this subject but it's a hard line NO in my book.

            1. re: Dagney

              At some point, the full potential of the iPad (or similar) menu, might be realized. So far, I just have not encountered it. Too many issues, and often convoluted ordering.

              Maybe one day? Or, maybe somewhere, that I have not yet dined?


        2. re: sal_acid

          Actually for a wine list, I really think that if it's well executed, and if the user is properly instructed on how to use it (and if he/she is open to learning), it's a much more useful tool for exploring than is the printed list. For a restaurant that has a 50+ page list, it's way easier to search for what you want on an color, varietal, label/negociant, price, country of origin, bottle size, etc.

          1. re: josephnl

            At 50 pages, you are probably looking at less than a dollar to reprint the whole list, which you hopefully wouldn't have to do too often. With an iPad, you have a device that will cost the restaurant a couple of hundred bucks and have a life span of maybe a couple of years before getting worn out or stolen. And it will likely alienate some dinosaurs who would be uncomfortable trying to use it. I've never found your typical traditional printed wine list very hard to search even if it's a very large one. Want champagne? Look it up in the index and flip to those pages! It's not rocket science, nothing you need a computer for if the wine list is reasonably organized.

            1. re: nocharge

              Actually, I tend to favor restaurants that do their wine lists the old-fashioned way by carving the hieroglyphs into stone. None of this modern Smith-Corona or mimeograph stuff for me!

              1. re: josephnl

                Seriously, an iPad wine list is a solution in search of a problem.

            2. re: josephnl

              Personally, I disagree.

              I create digital content, and have yet to encounter a really good digital wine list. Sorry, but they fall behind, and most do not actually function. We were at a Gordon Ramsay restaurant in Las Vegas, and had to have 3 of their tablets replaced, as they did not work.

              Just give me the printed wine list, and I am cool.


          2. I went to Flemings, lately and the wine menu was on an iPad. It was very helpful because you could search for what you wanted in so many different ways: price, country, varietal, etc.

            1. On an iPad , printed on paper or carved in stone; as long as I can read it and it is presented clearly, makes no difference to me.

              We have been to a couple of restaurants where either the menu or wine list (or both) were on an iPad. It was fine. There's also a restaurant in town where the bill is on and iPad and you swipe your credit card through an attachment to the iPad. The receipt is e-mailed to you. It's all good.

              17 Replies
              1. re: ttoommyy

                Yes, I agree with you. I love the Square payment devices you can attached to your iPad or smart phone. In a restaurant setting, it makes so much sense and should ease the mind of those who don't want their credit card wandering around unescorted.

                1. re: ttoommyy

                  Wonderful, who needs a Waiter. You sit down, order off the iPad, and a runner brings you your food. After you eat, you swipe your card and leave.

                  1. re: mike0989

                    Heck, if it would save me my 20-25% tip, maybe....

                    1. re: mike0989

                      The iPad is just a device to read the menu from and pay using a credit card; the waiter still brings you the iPad/menu, takes the order, brings the food, brings the iPad so you can swipe your card, etc. etc.

                      The iPad does not replace the waiter.

                      1. re: ttoommyy

                        Why not, heck they could cut their overhead by a good third.

                        1. re: mike0989

                          So how does the iPad get to your table? Who brings the food? Who gets the second drink for you? The replacement for your dropped fork? Etc. This would be fine in a cafeteria-type establishment, but if I am enjoying a nice evening out in a high end restaurant, I would like wait service. The iPad is there just to help facilitate the service in my opinion.

                          1. re: ttoommyy

                            "but if I am enjoying a nice evening out in a high end restaurant, I would like wait service. The iPad is there just to help facilitate the service in my opinion."

                            If I'm enjoying a nice evening in a high end restaurant, the iPad is just another reminder of all the electronic distractions I'm trying to get away from for a while.

                            1. re: mike0989

                              "Electronic distractions" are part of our world; I've come to accept and embrace them. A menu on an iPad is innocuous to me. I look at it, read the selections, make my selection and then put it down; I'm done with it. Different strokes...

                            2. re: ttoommyy

                              ttoommyy, somewhere else in this topic i linked to a restaurant that uses iPad menus. The iPad is in a unit that is anchored to your table so no one has to bring it to you. You can request a second or third iPad if you like, and that has to be brought to you, but one is enough for most parties. The owner of this resto concept once told me that a major reason behind the use of iPads was, in fact, to reduce the number of servers needed.

                              One thing that, for some odd reason, hadn't occurred to me until reading here, is how to figure the tip given this new type of service. At a venue where there is still normal service (and the ipad is, indeed, for facilitation) there's no issue. I'm willing to bet, however, that we will shortly see topics here about what percentage tip to leave for this 'lower' service level. I have to remember to ask my friend how this has worked at their locations.

                              1. re: Midlife

                                @Midlife I did not click on the link and read about that restaurant, sorry. I was thinking about the few restaurants where I have encountered iPad menus and wine lists; they were handed to us by the waiter. I am not in favor of an iPad replacing human contact though.

                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                  All electronic menu/wine list devices, so far, have been delivered to my table. Many did not work properly, and were replaced. Some, twice.

                                  So far, not impressed.

                                  IIRC, I first saw those at Aureole, with the "Wine Angles." No big deal. Once one has seen a young lady in Cirque du Soleil attire, leap from the ceiling of a 4-story wine cellar, to retrieve the wrong bottle of wine, one has seen it all.

                                  As BB King once sang, "The Thrill is Gone."


                              2. re: ttoommyy

                                I'm pretty sure Apple is coming out with a robotic iPad that can roll right over to your table.

                                1. re: tcamp

                                  "I'm pretty sure Apple is coming out with a robotic iPad that can roll right over to your table."

                                  I saw something similar on The Jetsons once. :)

                                  1. re: ttoommyy

                                    I am still waiting for my house to clean itself like it did on the Jetson's.

                                    1. re: jlhinwa

                                      My brother has a roomba & it cleans pretty well. Vacuums for 2 hrs every morning after everyone has left the house.

                                      1. re: Kalivs

                                        But then, he has not seen his cat, since he got his Roomba.


                      2. There may actually be Luddites who don't know how an Ipad works. This happened to me the first time I was handed one, in lieu of a printed wine list, a few years ago. I inadvertently touched or swiped the screen and I could not figure out how to get it back to the red wines by the glass page. Now that I know how to work an Ipad, I'd still prefer paper.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: masha

                          "There may actually be Luddites who don't know how an Ipad works."

                          Or those of us who have absolutely no interest in buying an I-ANYTHING.