HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >

Discussion

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)
Delete
  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.

          Hunt

          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?

              Hunt

        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 iPad...by 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.

              Hunt

          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."

                                  Hunt

                              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.

                                        Hunt

                      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.

                        2. Being used at a few places in the SF Bay Area and at this new-ish chain in SoCal: http://stacked.com/ Some find it gimmicky but the real purpose is to keep staffing costs down and customer interest up. Done well, it can be a pretty cool experience........... so long as the food is good. Stacked does both.... IMHO.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Midlife

                            Maybe restaurants can just place boxes of wines, with straws, above each table, and let the patrons take care of the rest?

                            There will be a meter on each box, and that will electronically go to the billing computer.

                            Hope they change the straws, between each seating!

                            Hunt

                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              Wow Bill. Kinda hot on this issue, huh? What Stacked does is done so well that it really adds to the experience. I have fess up that I've known one if the two owners for 25 years, but I still find their user interface extremely well done. The graphics and touch-screen functionality are very good.

                              When I went the first time it was with a group of a dozen of so people, most of whom wanted to know if they could buy stock on the company based on their experience there. No wine list to report on though.

                              1. re: Midlife

                                Midlife,

                                I have not done Stacked, so might well be missing something.

                                Hunt

                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  It's just a burger/pizza/salad place started by the former owners of BJ's Brewery. 3 locations so far. The food and value are good for what it is. The iPad interface is unique and worth a visit on its own........ Unless you really dislike burgers, pizza, and salads.

                                  1. re: Midlife

                                    If it is better than what I have encountered, so far, it would be worth a visit.

                                    I am not saying that an iPad menu, or wine list cannot be good, but just that I have yet to encounter such, and that goes back for maybe 10 years now.

                                    Gordon Ramsay had one at his steakhouse in Las Vegas. We had to have five replaced, or rebooted, as they just did not work. Then, when they did, the orders were really messed up. I finally pulled the Sommelier aside, and told him what we wanted. He was almost at a loss, as to how he needed to actually place an order, without the iPads. After three tries, he did finally get it right. Still, not an experience that a diner should have to suffer through!

                                    Just my observations,

                                    Hunt

                          2. My gut reaction is: really? How many iPads are you purchasing for this? And frankly, I have my face in a phone, iPad, laptop so much of my life, I really don't want to do this when I'm out to eat.

                            I'm not super wine knowledgable, so us rather a professional come talk to me if you have an extensive wine list. If its not extensive, why the need for a searchable list?

                            As for food menu, I really, really, really don't get it.

                            1. I think that for a wine list, a well done iPad menu can be wonderful. Not only can it be easily kept up-to-date, tasting notes can be made available...but only for those who want to see them. Also, for restaurants that have extensive lists, searching the iPad can be made very manageable...by varietal, price, etc. I've seen a few iPad wine lists that are way more user friendly than the 20 lb., 50 page tome that some restaurants present.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: josephnl

                                Why not have the full menu, plus wine list, sent to one's smart phone, when they make the reservation? That would allow everything to be on the table, when they are seated - oh, so long as they are seated within about 2 hours, of their reservations.

                                Hunt

                              2. I think it's a bit precious, still kind of being used for the novelty factor. I've only seen them in a couple of restaurants

                                Seems like more trouble than what it's worth. Breakable, dirty, gotta keep them charged, etc. Printer=cheap

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: coney with everything

                                  One can argue pros and cons, but breakable and dirty doesn't come into play.
                                  IPads are a favorite with Toddlers and young Children and they are not always gentle handling them, especially in the beginning. Those Ipads are pretty sturdy!. As for "dirty" - at least you can SEE the fingers left on the screen. Windex on a paper towel works great keeping it clean, no problem!

                                  1. re: RUK

                                    Maybe the wine lists will then work for toddlers.

                                    Hunt

                                2. I'd seen those in restaurants in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur - music built-in to some of those Ipad menus and you got to love those lovely pics.

                                  1. saw it once in a french restaurant in orange county, ca.
                                    can't say i cared one way or another about it.

                                    1. Just went to a restaurant today that had an IPad menu, to which my husband and I said NO, we will take a regular menu. Regular menu did not have prices, because they are on the IPad.

                                      We left. We told the staff, look we came into this seemingly "nicer" restaurant to dine and have SERVICE, not play around on a machine.

                                      This trend is silly.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Dagney

                                        I think there a number of contexts where it really works. There's one restaurant where I live that has the iPad menues - and as it's a major international tourist destination - it enables the restaurant to easily have the menu in many different languages without having to store a number of multilingual menues.

                                        Also I know a few people who greatly appreciate the ability to zoom in the menu print/font because they find some print menus to be written in a size too small. Or my mother who has difficulty reading in low light and often has to bring the table candle to her menu in order to read the standard paper menu.

                                        I'm just saying that I can think of a number of reasons to have an iPad menu that are actually about providing better service.

                                        1. re: cresyd

                                          I was going to mention where we were seated the light was quite low. I don't know the extra illumination was planned or an inadvertent side effect of the iPad.

                                      2. That sounds awful, actually. And I associate pictures of food on menus with diners/ fast food places/chains.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: wincountrygirl

                                          Maybe they could feature videos of other patrons, leaving the restaurant, who ordered X, waxing poetic about how good it was?

                                          Hunt

                                        2. I'm surprised by how many people are horrified or displeased with a menu presented on an iPad. It's still a menu, and it has the possibility to offer a lot more information and be updated continuously. I've never encountered one, but if it's used in conjunction with competent human servers, or if it has been thoughtfully integrated into a new service concept, as someone mentioned, what is the problem? I can see issues for older folks who are not technologically knowledgeable, but in that case the servers should be ready to step in with a paper menu. And having more details right on the iPad about the dishes (specials in particular) could free up server time. As to the associated costs, that's management's problem, not mine.

                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: lisavf

                                            The issue for us is the lack of service. We went to what appeared on the outside to be a slightly upscale-ish restaurant for a leisurely lunch on our day off. We enjoy dining out in all different types of restaurants, but on this occasion, we wanted to sit down, and have a relaxing, air conditioned lunch.

                                            Imagine our shock at being told about this "system." When we told the server (or hostess, or whatever she was) we wanted actual menus AND had to tell her we wanted service, the look on her face was priceless...her eyes got big as she said, "...oh, well, yeah....we can do that if you want, if you don't want to use the IPad..." huh? I thought. You can "do that"??? This was a place located in an upscale mall (Tiffany, Jimmy Choo stores and the like), so the fact that actual service was considered some bizarre anomaly in their world was, well, a bizarre anomaly in our world.

                                            The annoyance continued when we opened the menu to find it did not specify prices. We asked the hostess, "Where are the prices?" "Oh, they are on the IPad."

                                            We left. Simply put, meal time for us is for good food, good conversation, and good company. We are not the couple who sits together and then engages our own worlds on phones, texts, emails, and pieces of machinery. We are "technologically knowledgeable," but quite frankly, service is service, not DIY.

                                            1. re: Dagney

                                              although hosts/hostesses are the restaurant's vanguard they are so often poorly trained and inexperienced. this may have been the girl's 1st job or 1st restaurant job and she was clueless about how "most" places run, only knowing what goes on in her place of employ.

                                              it does seem silly that the paper menu had no prices, since not everybody can use an i-pad though.

                                              however, are you suggesting that you were to enter your own order without a server ever dealing with you?

                                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                Yes, the young lady that seated us pointed directly to the IPad and told us we could look at the menu, and order everything from it.

                                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                  Maybe restaurants can replace the FOH, plus the sommelier and waitstaff with a blender? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Omz2hg...

                                                  Hunt

                                                2. re: Dagney

                                                  I wonder what you do if you have an allergy or other dietary restriction? Being able to ask questions and have the server relay them to the kitchen is very important for some of us.

                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                    Well, a good iPad should be able to take a glucose sample, and then alert the kitchen of any allergies, or other problems. Maybe it can tap into one's medical records, plus their entire ordering history, just in case.

                                                    Hunt

                                                  2. re: Dagney

                                                    When you comment about the lack of service - does that mean that you didn't actually have a server but rather were expected to order directly from the iPad as opposed to engaging with a server? Because I do agree with you there in the sense of missing service.

                                                    However, if there is a server to perform all other "server functions" (i.e. taking orders, answering questions, etc.) - then I think that the iPad menus have a lot of use. I agree that the DIY aspect should perhaps remain in more concept oriented places - but I also would not throw out the entire idea of iPad menues just because some places use it as a chance to get rid of servers.

                                                    1. re: cresyd

                                                      +1

                                                      I would have no problem with an iPad menu instead of a paper menu, but I still want a person to provide service.

                                                3. My problem with it is that you KNOW that they will still expect a 20%+ tip for "service"!!

                                                  11 Replies
                                                  1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                    but to whom? the runners? the owners?

                                                    although i have yet to encounter this system in a sit-down place when i do my own ordering i don't leave a tip.

                                                    1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                      But I wonder if that is truly the case? Here in Mass a waitperson is paid a different min wage as the assumption is that they will be tipped and they are also taxed under that assumption. If they are no longer "waitstaff" can a business still designate them as such or would they have to now be paid standard minimum wage. The owners would then have to pony up considerable $$ to make up for the "loss" in wages otherwise risking losing their staff. I also don't see how a more upscale place would be able to hold onto any seasoned staff as essentially they would be taking a pay cut if the owner didn't give them a substantial raise. A bunch of untrained college kids is fine for DD or a pizza joint but for a place selling $12 drinks and $30 entrees?

                                                      If they are still classified as wait staff and everyone took Hotoy stance and stopped tipping I can't see that business staying in business. The govt assumes the staff are getting tips so these folks would not be able to survive on their base salary alone.

                                                      1. re: foodieX2

                                                        i live in mass also.

                                                        any front of house person can be deemed a "tipped" employee. they don't have to be waiters but can be runners, bussers, backservers or expediters, and can be paid less than minimum wage as long as their hourly + tips over the course of the pay-period will add up to at least minimum wage.

                                                        in dagney's case, somebody would have been delivering bread, water, drinks and food, yes? clearing and resetting the tables? so there must be some level of service staff. however, this is not the type of dynamic that would compel me to leave 20+%, and agree they would not be attracting high-calber staff.

                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                          Well that just sucks for the employees who will now make considerably less.

                                                          Of course now I sound like my 90 year old Aunt who refuses to use self check outs or ATM's because they are "robbing people of jobs".

                                                          Hey kids
                                                          <shaking my cane>>
                                                          get offa my lawn!!

                                                          1. re: foodieX2

                                                            lol, luckily i don't need my walker or dentures to type. :)

                                                            most restaurant owners are skinflints when it comes to foh staff. for those who choose this method of service, guests who don't like it will walk with their wallets and go elsewhere. that b- and c-level of foh staff will be the only ones willing to work there because it's easy and the money might be sufficiently ok. everybody has different needs and i have endured working with some astonishing lazy foh peeps.

                                                            while i don't need to become best friends with my server, part of dining out is the personal interaction, so this wouldn't be up my alley either.

                                                          2. re: hotoynoodle

                                                            Yes, this place looked like a slightly upscale mid-range room from the outside, but the level of service they offered was no more than what you might expect in a small cafe. The tables were not set, we were given "roll-ups," which also drives me batty (when the prices are not commensurate with "roll-ups"), but that's another thread.

                                                        2. re: PotatoHouse

                                                          Did the iPad deliver the food and clear the plates?
                                                          (confused)

                                                          1. re: pedalfaster

                                                            I receive that kind of service at Hardee's and Carl's Jr., do they deserve a 20% tip?

                                                            1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                              If you only dine at mega-corporation-multi-state-owned fast food joints, you're good! No tip needed. (labor cost is already tabulated into your food cost).

                                                              Also--Those folks are covered by min. wage laws.

                                                              Happy eating!

                                                          2. In the "G" concourse at MSP airport, all the new restaurants have I-pads at each seat. The menu is located on the Ipad, you order directly off the I-pad and pay the bill. While you're waiting for your food to arrive, the Ipads are free to do some internet surfing. Its not a fine dining experience, but in this environment I find it helpful and appropriate.

                                                            The Ipad has a place, but of course its not for everyone or every situation.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: qajohn

                                                              But do you tip at this place? if so who do you tip and what %?

                                                              1. re: foodieX2

                                                                Sure. The servers work here like any other place. They just don't take an order. Aside from bringing your food, they are checking on drinks, clearing plates, answering questions and otherwise serving their customers. If you don't feel like they are providing all the service that a waiter provides in a typical restaurant, you can always leave a lower tip.

                                                                1. re: qajohn

                                                                  So what % do you tip them vs a full service place? I have yet to experience a place with an Ipad in place of server.

                                                                  Does the bill pop up on the IPad too? Do you swipe your own card? What happens if you want to pay cash?

                                                                  1. re: qajohn

                                                                    Sounds like the old days in NYC at the AutoMats, where you were faced with a wall of plexiglas doors, with food behind each one. You paid the price, opened the door, took your food, and carried it to the table, to eat.

                                                                     
                                                              2. I have no issue with an ipad menu, but one thing I encountered recently was a digital beer menu on the wall.

                                                                It was at a craft beer pub that displays alll of its draft beer on screens in the establishment that look like airport arrival/departure screens, except the information is the brewer, the beer, when the keg was or will be opened, the alcohol content, and the price. It is interesting in concept, but depending on your table location, you often ended up looking for away or twisted around to look at something right behind you. An ipad might actually be really useful for this situation, as it could also constantly be updated.

                                                                1. I find that many restauranteurs are so caught up in technology, and forget what they are actually about.

                                                                  Still, the younger crowd will be enamored, regardless of a lack of descriptions, as they do not care about those at all - just make things glitzy, with animated sprites everywhere.

                                                                  Hunt

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                    Shiny objects. Many shiny objects.

                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                      Hunt...although I agree that in the few restaurants where I've seen iPad wine lists used, they have not been terrific. Nevertheless, if properly done, I think for this specific application (wine lists), the potential is definitely there. Compared to scanning a 50+ page printed wine list with little red dots stuck on to indicate not available, and blue dots to indicate only one bottle available, etc...consider the potential advantages of a well-executed iPad wine list. It can be up to date at all times, a customer can search by country or region of origin, producer, importer, varietal, color, price, etc. Tasting notes can be included for those who like them (I don't generally). Indeed, it is possible for a restaurant to put this database online for those who might like to review the list from home before deciding whether or not to bring in a bottle or two. I guess my point is, that if well done (and it's a big if), a digital/iPad has considerable potential.

                                                                      1. re: josephnl

                                                                        perhaps i move in a very different world, but how many times per week are you actually confronted with a 50+ page wine list?

                                                                        my usual haunts have wine lists of a couple of pages. if they can't keep paper up-to-date, will they manage "better" with an i-pad? not all wine directors are as organized as they should be, nor do all places have somebody whose sole responsibility is the wine program.

                                                                        like hunt, i have yet to encounter an i-pad wine list that lives up to its potential. i have no desire to be taking a virtual tour of the rhone instead of enjoying my dinner company so just give the damn i-pad to the kid and let him play angry birds all night.

                                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                          Not very often, but at restaurants with extensive wine programs, this happens. My point is that rather than writing off an iPad menu as "ridiculous" as some has said, there are times when it if designed properly, it can be very useful for the reasons enumerated above. I didn't even get into the potential benefits for low-vistion customers (I am an eye doctor and very sensitive to this). Not only is an iPad generally easier to read in a typical low light situation, variable font size can easily be programed into any menu. So, I'm not recommending it as a general rule, but neither do I think that it's totally without utility in some applications.

                                                                    2. It all comes down to how comfortable one is with electronic devices. Personally, and I'm not ashamed to say this, I couldn't live without them. Banking, e-mails, blogs, forums, trip planning, etc., I do it all on an iPad.
                                                                      But I do acknowledge that many people are uncomfortable with them and that full, printed wine lists along with prices should always be available for those who prefer them.

                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                        I don't think that's accurate. I'm extremely comfortable with electronic devices and use them throughout my day. I just don't think an electronic device is always the best tool for the job. I am not uncomfortable with iPad menus. I'm just annoyed.

                                                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                          I don't know if you've had the opportunity of using the iPad at Stacked, but the graphic interface is so unique and well done that I'd really be surprised if you were annoyed by it. It's a touch screen system with which you move graphic representstions of the ingredients in items you're ordering from a list on one side of the screen to populate a graphic outline of the finished burger/pizza/salad on the right. Have to see if to really appreciate it.

                                                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                            I'm very comfortable with technology, and think that iPad's can have a place in some restaurants. I guess that I'd be put off by an iPad menu at a fancy, high-end, Michelin starred restaurant, but for a pizza or burger joint, it would be fine. I do think that putting a wine list on an iPad has some advantages, but a printed list should always be available for those who prefer it.

                                                                            1. re: josephnl

                                                                              "I guess that I'd be put off by an iPad menu at a fancy, high-end, Michelin starred restaurant,"

                                                                              But if the iPad menu is just a vehicle for reading the list and not actually ordering and there is still full sommelier service, why not? It would not bother me at all.

                                                                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                I agree. I live in Jerusalem which attracts a high number of tourists - who speak a wide range of languages. For a restaurant to be able to have a menu in 6 or 7 languages is a huge advantage. Doing that in print can result in very unprofessional or unattractive results because reprinting so many menus costs, and it's awkward to have those menus around.

                                                                                However, to be able to have a menu available in Hebrew, English, Arabic, French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Spanish just on the iPad would lead to a greater ability to provide high level service to more patrons.

                                                                                1. re: cresyd

                                                                                  Despite what I've said elsewhere, your point is well taken, and makes a lot of sense.

                                                                                2. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                  Perhaps it's just me, but when I eat at an expensive, high-end, perhaps Michelin starred restaurant, somehow traditionalism seems imho to fit better. Yes, I still like crisp linens...tablecloth and napkins, nice crystal and silver, reasonably quiet atmosphere, nicely dressed clientele, and yes...a clean, freshly printed menu.

                                                                                  1. re: josephnl

                                                                                    I hear you. I absolutely love traditional service; all the things you said, plus table side finishing of dishes as well. I don't see an iPad not fitting in with this as long as it is just a means to read the menu and not an actual substitute for placing an order. But I absolutely respect you opinion and by no means want to see printed menus go by the wayside.

                                                                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                      I don't see an iPad adding a lot of value if it's just a means to read a menu. Seems more like a gimmick. And it's hard to believe iPads would provide any cost savings compared to printing a paper menu at a cost of a couple of cents per page. Moreover, you will find that there are significant segments of the population that are not tech savvy enough to feel comfortable with an iPad. Here is a true story: Some years ago I was in a cab in San Francisco when a cellphone rang in the backseat. It had been left behind by an earlier passenger who was now calling his own phone hoping to retrieve it. So I hand the phone to the driver who had clearly never used a cellphone in his life. He had to ask me how to hold it to his head. Now, if there are people who don't know how to operate a regular cellphone, chances are that there are a lot more that will feel uncomfortable with an iPad.