As people pile into a restaurant called Stacked, tucked in a San Diego mall around the corner from a Lego Store, it's easy to tell newbies from repeat customers. Veterans chat or watch sports while they wait for a table. The uninitiated gawk at people who've already been seated, watching them pass an iPad around each table to tap and swipe in their orders. The iPad has a ruggedized case and a credit card reader, and it's locked down to run only one app: Stacked's proprietary menu, ordering and payment system.
Stacked started in Torrance, Calif., in 2011 with the idea of serving highly personalized pizzas and burgers by letting people tap their complex orders into an iPad. The iPad offered a bit of novelty, too. But the tablet has delivered unexpected benefits, says Stacked co-CEO Paul Motenko: Orders get to customers about five minutes faster than they did without iPads, and 86 percent of guests say the iPad enhanced their experience.
Motenko also gets any bad news quickly. Stacked's app invites guests to fill out an electronic comment card as they check out, and each location receives around 1,000 weekly submissions. A complaint automatically triggers an alert to the manager. "We have the opportunity to try to make it right before the guest leaves the restaurant," Motenko says.
Give me a good, old fashioned Diner waitress with Big Hair that says "What'll you have, honey?" a smile that can melt butter, and keeps my cup full without any clicks, taps, swipes, pinches, swoops... etc..
I can wait five more minutes -- and she needs the job.
A Lenovo Ideapad I have died about 15 months after purchase. I shudder to think of relying on tablets as dependable end point computing devices in an enterprise environment. Other than top tier brands, tablets to me are largely disposable toys.
And the unmentioned benefit: any ordering mistakes cannot be blamed on the waiter. Either the order can be demonstrated to match the order as entered (customer error) or the kitchen made the wrong thing (restaurant error).
Definitely one concern which cannot be ignored.What if restaurants introduce the app to be downloaded by its customers and they order it from their own tabs/smartphones etc ? Just an idea which can be considered!!!
Yes, I want to touch the same iPad that other guests with filthy hands are using. Do you know how many people are washing their hands in the restrooms? I prefer a waiter and clean salt and pepper shakers please. Howard Hughes would be mortified.
What a really neat way to provide an improved customer experience! I am sure that this will not fly with some of the luddites, but if it speeds service and provides the store with instant feedback it has great potential. I wonder how long it will be before other restaurants will pick up on this concept?
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