Whether you’re dining out with friends, family or a date, taking out a mobile phone in the middle of a meal is considered somewhat antisocial. However, it might be time to set a place for technology at the dinner table, with some restaurants looking to make the most of the ever widening range of functions available on devices like new Apple iPads – by incorporating modern tech into their businesses.
Sommeliers at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant in Las Vegas have ditched the traditional pencil and notepad for shiny new iPads. Not only does this save paper, but it makes it much easier to keep up with the ever-changing wine list. California chain Stacked have taken things one step further, providing each table with an iPad that lets customers customise their order – from pizza toppings to burger bun – and send it directly to the kitchen, then pay when they’re ready to leave.
While this sort of tech is currently limited to a few specific restaurants, it’s easy to see the potential benefits of this idea. Aside from fully-customisable orders, this would mean that diners with visual impairments would be able to access larger print versions of the menu in seconds, while those with specific dietary needs or allergies could quickly search for and highlight suitable items. On a more basic level, many people get their phones out at the end of a meal to add up their contribution to the bill, so having a device available on the table would make this easier still.
This tech could also allow customers to access more nutritional information about their food. You could look up the calorie content of your meal or check the alcohol units in the items on the wine list, all of which keeps you more informed about what you’re consuming. Even the most professional of servers would struggle to memorise the nutritional details of a restaurant’s entire menu, so it’s easy to see why this clever tech can modernise the way we eat out.
It might seem a little futuristic to think tablets on the table could become as standard in a restaurant as cutlery or napkins, but the info and speed available with these devices can give you a greater feeling of control and make your dining experience more efficient.