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You can also play games on the tablets for about a dollar

Applebee's thinks waiting for the check at a restaurant is much like being held hostage, and it wants to change that by deploying tablets at every table. 

According to USA Today, casual dining chain Applebee's is planning to put tablets at each of its tables throughout all 1,865 locations nationally by the end of 2014. 

More specifically, Applebee's is rolling out 100,000 tablets total. The tablets will be provided by hardware and software provider E la Carte, and they will have 7-inch screens.

The idea behind the tablet deployment is to engage with customers in a way that's easy and convenient for them. For instance, if a customer wants to pay the bill and doesn't feel like waiting for the waiter/waitress, they can use the tablet to do so. 

"Who hasn't felt like they've been held hostage waiting for a check to arrive?" said Mike Archer, president of Applebee's.


The tablets can also be used to order additional food like appetizers and desserts. However, it won't be a full menu, and it won't replace existing menus. It will simply help with ordering any extras the customer might want while a waiter or waitress continues to take meal orders. 

In fact, Archer said that certain Applebee's restaurants that are testing the devices have seen increased appetizer and dessert sales. 

Applebee's is also looking to gain some tech cred with the younger generations by offering these tablets. In addition to ordering food and paying the bill, the tablets offer games customers can play for about a dollar.

The restaurant chain isn't too worried about tablet theft, either. Once these devices leave the restaurant, they're pretty much useless. 

Chili's, another casual dining chain, recently deployed tablets as well. It plans to cover 800 restaurants by the middle of next year.

Source: USA Today



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The Future
By tng on 12/3/2013 10:14:47 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
It will simply help with ordering any extras the customer might want while a waiter or waitress continues to take meal orders.
Well we can all see the writing on the wall here, if this works well you can bet they will test it using just the tablets for ordering and eliminate people off the restaurant payroll.

Isn't the future grand? I for one like having a good waiter or waitress, sometimes that person more than makes up for mediocre food...




RE: The Future
By JasonMick (blog) on 12/3/2013 10:23:21 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
Well we can all see the writing on the wall here, if this works well you can bet they will test it using just the tablets for ordering and eliminate people off the restaurant payroll.

Isn't the future grand? I for one like having a good waiter or waitress, sometimes that person more than makes up for mediocre food...
No offense to waitstaff, but isn't the issue the quality of the product (in this case response times, food quality, ability to order correctly/correct mistakes, etc.)?

Everyone thought the soda jerk was indispensable until Coca Cola and Pepsi came along. In the 1940s nearly every diner and drugstore had one... but society didn't collapse when they disappeared.

My biggest concern in the early stages would be whether a company like Applebees might jump the gun before the system was mature and can the waitstaff only to find its system was woefully unprepared for handling the corrections to orders, etc. that the staff was currently handling.

I see that as the big issue. It's easy to have a menu and order from it. Giving honest descriptions of the food is one thing that skilled waiters do that's hard to replace. Another difficult thing to replace is correcting orders.

So I agree with you in some sense, however I think this is the eventual future... whether the future should (or can?) be now is a reasonable debate, though.


RE: The Future
By JasonMick (blog) on 12/3/2013 10:26:22 AM , Rating: 2
*Everyone thought the soda jerk was indispensable until Coca Cola and Pepsi came along.

... I should say, their mass produced plastic packaging... in the days of glass bottles, part of the reason for the soda jerks was economics ... glass was expensive and it cost a lot more to buy bottled pop than go down to the drugstore, hence the soda jerk was popular with youth.

Coca Cola and Pepsi of course had been around since the late 1800s, but they only really came into their own when the post-war plastics boom made their product cheap and consumable on a plastic scale, and automated soda machines cut costs at fast food joints.


RE: The Future
By Lord 666 on 12/3/2013 1:12:22 PM , Rating: 2
Only if there was an edit button...


RE: The Future
By quiksilvr on 12/4/2013 2:25:11 AM , Rating: 2
You know we're screwed when a site author can't even edit their own post.


RE: The Future
By Argon18 on 12/3/2013 2:28:53 PM , Rating: 3
Sure there was a boom in plastics following WWII, however it wasn't until the early 1970's that plastic soda bottles came into widespread use.


RE: The Future
By Just Tom on 12/6/2013 10:51:43 AM , Rating: 2
The soda jerk was disappearing long before Coca Cola and Pepsi started using plastic bottles. Full service pharmacies and cars killed the soda jerk, not plastic. Plastic bottles were actually more expensive than glass well into the 1960's. I didn't start actually seeing plastic soda bottles replacing glass where I lived until well into the 70's, and by that time there were not a full time soda jerk to be found.


RE: The Future
By keitaro on 12/3/2013 10:50:56 AM , Rating: 3
The way this would work in theory is that these tablet menus should complement the waitstaff overall. Maybe I'm optimistic about it. The way I view it is the current methods which restaurants do things won't change much in the long run, if by adding tablets for ordering, be it for appetizers, drinks, or main dish. Good places with good waitstaff will randomly go around to check if the food that the customers ordered were to their liking. And if there's anything that the customer needed (ie. extra napkins, a certain sauce), they can use the tablet to ping for the waiter/waitress.

I'd definitely would use the tablet if it's another form of ordering for things... especially if you need a refill on a drink.

If any, I pose this question: is there anything bad that came come out of this? Please factor out the possible economical and employment implications if you can.


RE: The Future
By Motoman on 12/3/2013 11:09:09 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
If any, I pose this question: is there anything bad that came come out of this? Please factor out the possible economical and employment implications if you can.


For one thing, without massive reform to the wages that waitstaff are paid, what is this likely to do to the way tips are left?

"Well, that waitress only did half the job she did before...so I'm only going to leave half the tip I did before."

That issue though is already a ridiculous anachronism. The law needs to change and society too, to give waitstaff real-world wages and eliminate tipping.


RE: The Future
By hughlle on 12/3/2013 11:21:58 AM , Rating: 1
America certainly is utterly F'ed up in that regard. I just don't understand the way americans feed an absolute obligation not just to tip, but to tip a certain percentage. So long as you continue tipping like this, no one is going to give two damns about changing the minimum wage. Business owners sure get it easy in the US compared to elsewhere, not many industries where the owner can get the customer to pay the staffs wages without the customer seeming to raise an eyebrow.


RE: The Future
By Labotomizer on 12/3/2013 11:31:28 AM , Rating: 2
I would happily have tips permeate more of society, not less. Instead of a guaranteed paycheck it means they have to excel at their job to make better money. Most companies give raises yearly or on promotion which, for a lot of people, isn't instant enough to put forth their best.

Perhaps it's absurd in a country where the government pays for everything you need if you don't feel like working. But the entire American Dream is built around hard work paying off. There are few industries that exemplify that motto more than the wait staff industry. Do a great job, make lots of money. Do a subpar job and you're lucky if you get minimum wage. Either way you earned what you got.


RE: The Future
By Spuke on 12/3/2013 1:09:34 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
But the entire American Dream is built around hard work paying off.
I know I get impatient with non-Americans on this topic but I have to realize that they simply don't understand our culture. What Labo said is the cornerstone of how/why we do things here.


RE: The Future
By hughlle on 12/3/2013 1:36:30 PM , Rating: 1
I don't really see where any of that fits in.

We work hard in the UK as well. Only we are sensible enough not to make the customer pay the salary. We have a suitable minimum wage, meaning the worker can just accept that and do as they have to do, or they can work their ass off and earn more through tips.

Staff in the UK work hard for tips just like they do in the US, only we're not foolish enough to think that it should be an obligation for the customer to tip so that their take home pay is anywhere near suitable. Why should we be made to feel guilty because your laws protect the employer from having to treat his staff fairly. If you can't live off your hourly or monthly salary without tips, then get another job, why do they feel that they have any right to a tip no matter how hard they work.

Tipping is a matter of courtesy, not obligation. If your laws are foolish enough to make it an "obligation" then clearly your "dream" needs amending because it's flawed.


RE: The Future
By ClownPuncher on 12/3/2013 1:45:30 PM , Rating: 1
That's not how it works in the US. Each state has different minimum wage laws, some much more "suitable" than others. Gratuity isn't usually compulsory (rarely is it), and a good server at a good restaurant can make $50-120k a year.

Your crooked tooth condescension is noted, however.


RE: The Future
By Labotomizer on 12/3/2013 5:10:01 PM , Rating: 3
How about our laws aren't foolish? I am not obligated to leave a tip, although I generally will. A poor tip is a better sign of dissatisfaction than no tip. No tip could be written off as me being cheap, a poor tip is usually a good indicator of service.

I get that you disagree. We also likely disagree on how much of our money should go to taxes and what the government's role in our daily lives should be. A difference of opinion doesn't make you an idiot but your attitude that yours is the only way that's "right" does.

You can discount the American dream all you'd like. The only problem it has today are the entitled bastards who think that government or someone else owes them that life. It's never been about that. It's about being able to work hard, no matter where you started, and be successful without the government or church to impede that. It's as simple as that. Our government's problem is that it's trying to be too much like you because so many want thing handed to them.


RE: The Future
By Spuke on 12/3/2013 5:51:04 PM , Rating: 3
Again Labo is right on point. You may still think we're silly but I'm a bit more open minded on this. That said, I might disagree with how you do some things in your country but foolish is not a word I'd use. It is what it is.


RE: The Future
By Strunf on 12/4/2013 8:54:46 AM , Rating: 2
It's all fun and well until you get sick and then no tips = no money...

I don't see how you compare the waitress to the American dream, elsewhere in the world we also tip the waitresses, it's called courtesy and the tip is just a sign that waitress is doing a good job, so in the end regardless where the waitress is working the best one will always have a better pay at the end of the month.

Another thing you also seem to think that it's always the waitress fault, what if food takes too long to come ? will you live no tip to the waitress when she's probably not even the one to blame, what if the food ain't good either? the fact is that the tip depends on many factors that the waitress can't even control.


RE: The Future
By Labotomizer on 12/4/2013 11:04:03 AM , Rating: 2
Speed does not equate to service. I'm sure some people think it does.

Also, how much would you tip for exceptional service at a high end place? 5%? 10%? Even if people made a reasonable minimum wage, let's say $15/hour, that's a total of $30,000/year for 40 hours/week. And since employers don't like paying overtime suddenly working extra as a waitress dries up because they don't want to pay you $22.50/hour when they could fill in with another person. So let's say an exceptional waiter is making that and gets 5% for being exceptional across all tables. They just took a MASSIVE pay cut.

Sure, it would be great for the average person. But these types of laws don't benefit the exceptional, they benefit the lowest common denominator. THAT is why it equates the American Dream. This country was not built based on the lowest common denominator, it was built around focusing on the best. I get that it has moved away from that and is moving away from that every day. But I don't have to like it and raising the minimum wage is just another way of forcing that to happen.

When I was 16 I didn't make minimum wage due to my work ethic. The people who did really didn't deserve more money. So the government dictating what they should get because of a lack of motivation is absurd.


RE: The Future
By Strunf on 12/4/2013 12:45:32 PM , Rating: 2
hmm why do you speak of the law? the salary of the waitress isn't defined in the law, it's the owner that sets it and the better the waitresses the better their salary (and better tips), plus since tips aren't part of your salary there are no Taxes on them, so ya if you're an exceptional waitress you'll be well rewarded regardless where you work. To be honest I wonder if the size of the tip isn't related to the looks of the waitress more so than anything else.

I don't know how it is in the US but here without a salary you can't even rent an apartment or ask for a loan.

Anyways even if you're an exceptional waitress you're not living the American dream, no one achieved economical independence by being waitress.


RE: The Future
By Just Tom on 12/6/2013 1:28:27 PM , Rating: 2
Tips are taxable in the US. As they are in the UK.


RE: The Future
By ebakke on 12/4/2013 8:23:56 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Business owners sure get it easy in the US compared to elsewhere, not many industries where the owner can get the customer to pay the staffs wages without the customer seeming to raise an eyebrow.
[facepalm] Customer's always pay the staff wages. What differs is whether or not the employer (and appropriate taxing authorities) serve as a middle man.


RE: The Future
By Labotomizer on 12/3/2013 11:26:58 AM , Rating: 3
I don't see anything wrong with receiving pay based on performance. And for every IHOP waiter that would love a steady salary there's a good waiter out there at a nice restaurant that would lose a large amount of money if tips were eliminated. Do your job well and you can make a lot of money as a waiter. When one has 3-4 tables and each table is an average of $150 per meal and you provide excellent service you're looking at, conservatively, $45-$60/hour. And that's if the people are cheap.

The Applebee's of the world are completely okay to replace their terrible wait staff. The only problem is this would likely cost them more as they still need people to bring the food, refill drinks, etc. Unfortunately my conscious won't let me tip less than 10% at these places since I know they need the money but they could at least do their job somewhat better. I'll happily leave a 20% tip when the service dictates.

It amazes me how bad people can be at a job where their performance directly translates to their immediate pay. If someone told me I could make 20% of what I bill if I received high CSAT scores then I would babysit every person I talk to. Giving waiters a salary or fixed hourly rate would absolutely ruin service.

And every once in a while you find a good waiter at these chain restaurants. I went to IHOP one year with my wife and daughter and the place was packed and the guy had at least 10 tables. He was still great and you could tell he was giving it his all. Given it was the holiday season we left a %50 tip and, judging from the comments we heard, we weren't the only ones. The guy made a killing that night. Just do your f'in job.


RE: The Future
By Motoman on 12/3/2013 11:42:34 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Giving waiters a salary or fixed hourly rate would absolutely ruin service.


Then why isn't EVERY OTHER industry "ruined" by poor service?


RE: The Future
By RapidDissent on 12/3/2013 12:22:53 PM , Rating: 2
There is no evidence to suggest they aren't. I don't remember politicians being paid tips ever... or automotive assembly workers... so you can't say that they wouldn't benefit without trying it.


RE: The Future
By Motoman on 12/3/2013 12:44:13 PM , Rating: 2
Then why do *you* strive to do a good job at work?

Is it because you want to keep your job? Is it because you want to get a raise, or a promotion? Is it because you like doing a good job?

...would you do a better job if your salary were slashed, and you had to depend on "tips" from other people?


RE: The Future
By Labotomizer on 12/3/2013 5:02:43 PM , Rating: 2
You're telling me you don't think customer service would improve if CS reps were compensated based on tips? I don't know about you but 90%+ of the CS reps I've dealt with over the years are awful. Waiters are just customer service reps that take your order, bring your food and refill your drink.

And to be fair I will fill out a survey at the end of dealing with them if they are really good or really bad. If they are just ok then it's not worth my time.


RE: The Future
By JasonMick (blog) on 12/3/2013 12:22:32 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I don't see anything wrong with receiving pay based on performance. And for every IHOP waiter that would love a steady salary there's a good waiter out there at a nice restaurant that would lose a large amount of money if tips were eliminated. Do your job well and you can make a lot of money as a waiter. When one has 3-4 tables and each table is an average of $150 per meal and you provide excellent service you're looking at, conservatively, $45-$60/hour. And that's if the people are cheap.
I'm not saying that.

What I'm saying is that if a robot or table-side application COULD do the job of a highly experienced, knowledgeable waiter then there's no need for that waiter. I don't think they currently can.

Until then, there WILL BE a need for that waiter, at least in classy establishments. As for IHOP and Applebees -- maybe not.

My point is that automation in and of itself and vocational shifts shouldn't be feared, but at the same time we must consider the limitations of current technology and not shift prematurely to automation, damaging customer service in the process.

I think because of the problem of correcting orders and suggesting food based on customer feedback (not just canned, management-ordered responses), you really need a softbot with a pretty sophisticated AI. We're not there yet, but in a decade or two I bet we will be.

At that point for better or worse, expect the market to shift to automated "waitstaff".


RE: The Future
By Labotomizer on 12/3/2013 5:13:31 PM , Rating: 2
You're right, I don't think it can replace even a fair wait staff. It could easily replace a bad wait staff though.

Jack in the Box near my house has the option of ordering at the counter or using the touch screen. Guess which one I pick? Faster, easier and less interaction with stupid people every time.

Many low end sit down chains don't employ much better and if I could eliminate my dependence on them and the tip at the same time I'd be all for it. I doubt it will make their food any better but at least I won't be irritated by the person coming to my table.


RE: The Future
By Reclaimer77 on 12/3/2013 8:18:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Giving waiters a salary or fixed hourly rate would absolutely ruin service.


And it would be a HUGE pay cut for above-average servers.

I knew a girl who could pull down ~$1,000 working a double on Saturday and just lunch on Sunday. And this was late 90's early 2000's money!

Also people are forgetting the other advantage of working for tips. You can be shall we say, creative, when it comes time to do taxes.


RE: The Future
By Argon18 on 12/3/2013 2:34:04 PM , Rating: 1
"That issue though is already a ridiculous anachronism. The law needs to change and society too, to give waitstaff real-world wages and eliminate tipping."

Wrong. In any industry where the service is as important, or more so, than the product, there has to be an incentive for the service worker to give good service. Look at government employees for example, a bunch of fat and lazy do-nothings. If waitstaff in a restaurant had guaranteed pay, they have no incentive whatsoever to give you good tableservice - they get paid the same either way.

I would assert that we need more service jobs in the US to move away from the salary model, and into the tip model. Service sucks these days at so many places. Restaurants are one of the few places nowadays where you can get consistently good service.

If only government workers received most of their wages via tips. Maybe then a visit to the DMV wouldn't be so painful, and you'd have smiling workers eager to help, rather than angry i-dont-give-a-crap-about-you attitudes like we have today.


RE: The Future
By Labotomizer on 12/3/2013 5:20:32 PM , Rating: 2
AT&T support comes to mind as well? Oh, your PRI is down at this location? Well, guess what, we don't care. We'll assign someone to test a circuit with 99.8% uptime in, oh, 8 hours.

I remember dealing with a client's outage with ATT once and it took them 3 days to fix a PRI. They promised 60 minute updates, not once did they call in 60 minutes. Twice they said they showed up onsite and I was waiting and no one ever came.

At the end I asked if they had a survey. They said no. Simply put their service is almost always so bad that a survey would get people in trouble and they would be accountable. If I could tip for great service I would LOVE it!


RE: The Future
By ven1ger on 12/3/2013 6:25:26 PM , Rating: 2
Tipping has become so over the top that it is really getting out of hand. I don't appreciate the tip jars at food places where you order and get your food and sit down. Tips were generally regulated to restaurants, taxis and certain other service oriented vocations.

If I feel I have to tip someone to get good service, isn't that sort of extortion or bribery? If I want to get good service from the mailman, do I have to tip them? If I want to get good service from the cashier or the person bagging my grocery, do I have to tip them? It's getting silly to expect that good service requires a tip, I understand that you can show your appreciation if someone goes out of their way to do something any tip them but tipping for expected good service is getting really out of hand.

Any job/career that one does, there is an expectation of good service, it's called professionalism. Taking pride in how one does one job should be the expectation and not requiring tipping. Tipping or requiring the customer to make up this lack of good pay to get the expectation of good service is kind of pathetic.

Btw, I used to wait tables at a fine restaurant in my college days and while tips were good, I've always felt that the tips should not be a reflection on how I did my job, I did my job professionally, and not with the expectation that I'd be getting more tips. Restaurant used to have a lot of reservations for weddings/banquets/etc, I used to work most of those, slower times would wait tables.


RE: The Future
By ritualm on 12/3/2013 8:56:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In any industry where the service is as important, or more so, than the product, there has to be an incentive for the service worker to give good service.

Tipping is not an incentive. Look at Japan. Tipping is not required at all in restaurants, in fact it is already included along with consumption taxes on the final bills you pay. So what really is the incentive?

The correct answer is repeat business.

It costs more to attract a new customer than it costs to retain an existing one. The staff should work hard because they're not doing it for the big fat tips you leave on the table. They should because they want you to keep coming back. 10% tipping from loyal customers is more than acceptable when the other alternative is "they're never coming back" - the latter is what generally kills a business in the long-term.

Some people believe they are entitled to 20%+ tipping regardless of the quality of actual service rendered. They make the entire idea of tipping look bad. If the waitstaff in any restaurant pulls such an act on me, it won't matter how good everything else is, because I AM NOT COMING BACK FOREVER.

Get a hint, son.


RE: The Future
By GotThumbs on 12/3/2013 8:09:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The law needs to change and society too, to give waitstaff real-world wages and eliminate tipping.


This coming from the person who DOES NOT OWN a restaurant.

The REAL skill is in the kitchen. Quality customer service does lie with the staff, but I go to eat....not be entertained by the staff.

Of course, I always gravitate towards self-check out lines when they are available. I'm looking to get in and out and I find I'm more skilled in getting the job done quickly than many cashiers I encounter today.

When the LAW dictates higher dining out costs....for "FAIRNESS" to low skilled and poor quality service, well that's when I stop eating out altogether. I tip well when I get the quality service I expect. I'm NOT high maintenance, I just want it served hot, as ordered and then let me eat in peace with my family/friends.

I've already reduced my BK and Subway outings due to low professionalism of staff. Building a sandwich...is NOT supposed to be a career. It's a job for High school students and college students IMO.

I bagged groceries at my first job and worked retail and fast-food during college. I grew up and got a real job. It's not that hard for those willing to work for what they want.

This is my experience and my opinion. don't agree...well that's your choice and I wish you a happy life.

~Best wishes keeping what YOU earned.


RE: The Future
By tng on 12/3/2013 11:34:06 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
ability to order correctly/correct mistakes, etc.
I live in the Bay Area in CA. There is a sandwich place here called Specialties Cafe. One of the things I like about the place is that they have a row of Ipads set up with the full menus and with a CC you can order direct from these and avoid standing in line.

However... I have seen this go wrong on several occasions because there is a learning curve to using them.


RE: The Future
By frozentundra123456 on 12/4/2013 7:41:11 PM , Rating: 2
I dont think you meant it to come out this way, but the gist of your first post is that you dont care at all about the wait staff being unemployed, only wgether your service is done well with the automated ordering system. I know technology marches on, and jobs are lost, but I think it is unfortunate that many younger workers such as college students will lose their jobs if automated ordering takes over. Plus I think the overall dining experience would suffer compared to having a good server.

For this very same reason, I refuse to go through automated check out lines at Walmart or other such stores, because I want to help preserve at least some of the cashier's jobs.


RE: The Future
By bug77 on 12/3/2013 10:29:06 AM , Rating: 3
Would you fancy getting your food from the kitchen yourself? Or maybe argue with a tablet that the beef isn't done right?


RE: The Future
By chmilz on 12/3/2013 2:43:01 PM , Rating: 1
No, but if I'm eating at a dive like Applebees, chopping off 15-20% for a tip I'd rather not pay is fine by me.


RE: The Future
By tayb on 12/3/2013 5:21:07 PM , Rating: 2
This model is no different from the thousands of restaurants that have an "order at the front and we'll bring the food to you" model. It is not expected to tip someone 15-25% for walking 20 feet carrying food.

This is not a radical idea. Thousands of restaurants operate without a wait staff and they manage just fine.


RE: The Future
By YearOfTheDingo on 12/3/2013 10:37:46 AM , Rating: 2
Minimum wage for employees earning tips is only $2.13 an hour. Restaurants won't save much from eliminating their waitstaff. Customers certainly ain't going to leave a 20% tip for the tablet.


RE: The Future
By Flunk on 12/3/2013 11:23:48 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know about you but I'm looking forward to leaving the tablet a 0% tip once they have the thing totally implemented.


RE: The Future
By Flunk on 12/3/13, Rating: 0
RE: The Future
By Motoman on 12/3/2013 11:44:41 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
extreme low-end restaurants like Applebees.


lol

You realize that Applebees is the kind of restaurant that many people/families save money up for, for their once-a-month night out, right?

Doosh.


RE: The Future
By ClownPuncher on 12/3/2013 12:09:38 PM , Rating: 1
That doesn't make it less of a low end restaurant. It's garbage food, built for low income families.


RE: The Future
By tayb on 12/3/13, Rating: 0
RE: The Future
By Motoman on 12/3/2013 12:49:21 PM , Rating: 2
You people are amazing.

I see no difference between Applebee's and any of the other big chains, like Chili's, TGI Friday's, Bennigan's, Ruby Tuesday, so on and so forth.

Although all the above are probably a notch above Denny's and Perkins.

So I suppose you guys only eat at the Four Seasons then?


RE: The Future
By ClownPuncher on 12/3/2013 12:53:20 PM , Rating: 1
Chili's, TGIF and all the others are crap too. Nobody cares if you like it or not, just don't call it quality and we won't have a problem.

If you tell me Outback has good steak, I'm going to cut you.


RE: The Future
By kattanna on 12/3/2013 1:09:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
good steak


the only place I get REALLY good steaks is at home, since I can cook them to EXACTLY how we like them

the wife will occasionally still order a steak once in a while when we go out.. but blames me for ruining that.. LOL


RE: The Future
By tayb on 12/3/13, Rating: 0
RE: The Future
By tng on 12/3/2013 1:14:40 PM , Rating: 2
You can call Applebees/Chilis/Ruby Tuesday what you want, but you probably don't do allot of traveling for a living.

These places are great when you fly into Randomville, USA someplace and are hungry. You know the menu, you know the quality and you don't have to take a chance on someplace unknown until you can ask around.

Kinda like Starbucks, you have had much better coffee, but at least they have a consistent cup of joe that you can find all over the world.


RE: The Future
By Murloc on 12/3/2013 1:40:45 PM , Rating: 2
I have bad news for you: if it takes 15 minutes, you're eating pre-cooked pizza and you might as well spare the money and buy it at the mall and put it in the oven at home.


RE: The Future
By ritualm on 12/3/2013 9:04:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
if it takes 15 minutes, you're eating pre-cooked pizza

Pre-cooked pizza takes less than 15 minutes. Fresh ones do need that amount of time, more than that for "well done".

Doosh.


RE: The Future
By lagomorpha on 12/3/2013 2:36:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm pretty sure someone will come up with a job for the people put out of work by this,


Just like someone came up for a job for the 7.3% of the US population currently looking for a job. Oh wait!

Not that I'm against using technology to allow fewer workers to perform more work, but I'm not going to pretend it doesn't make things harder for people on the bottom.


RE: The Future
By tayb on 12/3/13, Rating: -1
RE: The Future
By Reclaimer77 on 12/3/2013 12:24:45 PM , Rating: 1
If you ran a major foodservice chain like Applebee's and were facing Obamacare compliance, this would make a lot of sense.

However I don't see this as actually replacing waitstaff. Not yet.

And if you were looking for good service and food, but ended up at Applebee's.... lol. Not feelin' good in the neighborhood!


RE: The Future
By retrospooty on 12/3/2013 1:23:23 PM , Rating: 3
"However I don't see this as actually replacing waitstaff. Not yet"

--> Waits for small indoor drones to actually deliver the food.


RE: The Future
By lagomorpha on 12/3/2013 2:40:14 PM , Rating: 2
There are already plenty of restaurants where the food is brought by a train or conveyor and have been for decades. Usually they're either train themed burger joints or sushi bars though.


RE: The Future
By retrospooty on 12/3/2013 2:57:03 PM , Rating: 2
True, but you still have to order through a person. My goal is to not have to deal with idiots any longer. Of course not all wait staff are idiots, but alot are, and alot of others just dont give a crap... So if I can go out to eat, not have to order through an idiot and not have to rely on the same idiot to bring the food out I am happy. Now hopefully they can take some of that money saved by not paying idiots to be idiots and spend it in the kitchen to hire a better level of non-idiots to do the cooking.


RE: The Future
By lagomorpha on 12/3/2013 5:58:30 PM , Rating: 2
No you don't order through a person, the sushi comes by on colored plates and you pick up whatever plates look good. Your bill is based on the number and color of the plates you picked up and stacked. This is a problem that was solved 55 years ago.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conveyor_belt_sushi

"Conveyor belt sushi was invented by Yoshiaki Shiraishi (1914–2001), who had problems staffing his small sushi restaurant and had difficulties managing the restaurant by himself. He got the idea of a conveyor belt sushi after watching beer bottles on a conveyor belt in an Asahi brewery. After five years of development, including the design of the conveyor belt and the speed of operations, Shiraishi opened the first conveyor belt sushi Mawaru Genroku Sushi in Osaka in 1958,"


RE: The Future
By retrospooty on 12/3/2013 7:11:12 PM , Rating: 2
That's right... Its been a while, most Sushi near me is normal waited tables. Now hungry, want no interface Sushi!!!


RE: The Future
By lagomorpha on 12/4/2013 1:41:35 PM , Rating: 2
The conveyor is still broken at my favorite local sushi place :/

Somehow I don't think this solution will work for much American food though there may be some exceptions. I have a feeling that for certain bar food this could result in increased sales.

To many people on their 3rd beer a plate of fried mozzarella sticks or cheese fries floating in front of them across a conveyor might be more temptation than they can handle.


RE: The Future
By retrospooty on 12/3/2013 12:46:31 PM , Rating: 2
" I for one like having a good waiter or waitress, sometimes that person more than makes up for mediocre food."

That is great when you get one, but often you dont. Often you get a crappy waiter or waitress that either leaves you waiting too long, screws up the order, or some other issue. I like this, it at least takes the human error out of the order part.


RE: The Future
By Murloc on 12/3/2013 1:35:58 PM , Rating: 2
a waiter can't make up for bad food.

Waiters aren't going anywhere as you can't bring food, discuss the menu and the dessert, offer a drink and take away plates without a waiter.

Also decent restaurants have to keep the human contact.

Chains with standardized ready-to-cook recipes aren't really restaurants so this could work.

Enjoy the greasy tablets.


RE: The Future
By Argon18 on 12/3/2013 2:37:46 PM , Rating: 1
A waiter doesn't have to make up for bad food. People like bad disgusting food, so long as its salty, greasy, and cheap. The $Billions in annual sales from McDonalds proves that point.

Nobody anywhere likes bad service though. Even at the nastiest dive bar in the country, people expect good table service.


RE: The Future
By inperfectdarkness on 12/4/2013 10:26:34 AM , Rating: 2
meh. "waitstaff" isn't high-paying jobs to begin with. and besides, this isn't that far removed from how sonic operates...with someone still bringing the food to your car.

i don't see the big deal.


menu
By Shadowmaster625 on 12/3/2013 10:12:49 AM , Rating: 2
It should have the full menu on it. There's no reason not to....




RE: menu
By tng on 12/3/2013 10:15:57 AM , Rating: 2
They eventually will...


RE: menu
By WoWCow on 12/3/2013 10:29:12 AM , Rating: 3
I have seen those tablets and most of them are smeared in ... I don't want to think about it. Kids drool and and smear their wet fingers all over it, then put the finger back in their mouth... then back on the screen

The waiter I talked to said it wasn't required of them to clean/wipe those things as they would with a table... (wow).

But I can certainly see the appeal - I have seen people order more when they take a few more minutes to look at those pictures without a stranger looking over them.

It is likely those said people feel they are being judged in the presence of a waiter. Quite amusing to see how much more 'guilty indulgence' a person will take if they feel they aren't being watched.


RE: menu
By Flunk on 12/3/2013 11:25:08 AM , Rating: 2
I see a fix for this problem, the bus-boy wipes it off after every meal. Easy fix, this is the sort of thing that will get worked out quickly.


RE: menu
By Argon18 on 12/3/2013 2:39:50 PM , Rating: 2
LMAO, you really think its that easy? Half the time they don't even wipe off the damn table. And even when they do, its with the same filthy bacteria colony rag they've been wiping all the other tables with all day.


RE: menu
By retrospooty on 12/3/2013 2:57:57 PM , Rating: 2
"when they do, its with the same filthy bacteria colony rag"

Yup... That is the really scary part.


RE: menu
By Reclaimer77 on 12/3/2013 10:20:57 PM , Rating: 2
Nah. Those rags are soaked in bleach water. Bacteria goes bye bye.


RE: menu
By ven1ger on 12/3/2013 6:37:54 PM , Rating: 2
Don't really think there is anything to fix. If the tablet functions just like a menu, who is responsible for wiping down the menus when they get greasy. Same person would wipe down the tablet. Whether it is the busboy job or the waiters job to wipe down the menu, it shouldn't really matter, it's the restaurant management that has to make the determine that they want a nice clean restaurant or a greasy joint. If it's a greasy joint, I wouldn't be going back too often.


More of a cultural problem
By Solandri on 12/3/2013 4:28:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"Who hasn't felt like they've been held hostage waiting for a check to arrive?" said Mike Archer, president of Applebee's.

That only happens because American (maybe European) culture has this silly notion that a waiter is "rude" if he brings you the check before you're ready to leave. Consequently, the waiter errs on the safe side and brings you your check late, rather than risk bringing it to you early.

In Asia you get the check whenever; frequently while you're still eating. You can even pay for it while you're still eating. (There's no "order desert after you finish your meal" cultural norm either. You order what you want, then you get it and eat it.)




RE: More of a cultural problem
By Reclaimer77 on 12/3/2013 5:03:06 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
That only happens because American (maybe European) culture has this silly notion that a waiter is "rude" if he brings you the check before you're ready to leave.


Why is that silly?

Different cultures have different rules and behaviors. Why is it that whenever cultures are discussed, it's ALWAYS the American one who's "wrong", no matter what the issue?

I'm tired of being shamed of being an American on the Internet. Nobody likes it when an American pushes their ideals on others. Why should we as Americans tolerate the same?

America has the largest, most profitable, most expansive food service industry on the planet. You think maybe, just maybe, they're doing something right? And that they know what they are doing when it comes to when and when not to bring the check?

quote:
In Asia you get the check whenever; frequently while you're still eating.


Good for them. But Asians don't have the same personal space bubble. American's prefer to not feel crowded or rushed.

The Japanese culture would consider MANY of our cultural practices rude. We would consider some of theirs rude, or odd. Why is it ONLY ours that is a "cultural problem" and needs changing?

I don't understand this constant anti-Americanism stigma. And wtf, what is wrong with waiting until after you eat to see if you feel like a desert, exactly?


RE: More of a cultural problem
By Solandri on 12/4/2013 3:37:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why is that silly?

Because it serves no functional purpose. Someone at some point in time decided that they shouldn't be bothered with the check until after the meal was over. They let their ego override procedural efficiency ("others should wait for me"). And somehow this has become ingrained as "normal" in American culture.

If it weren't causing problems, then I'd have no issue with it. But because people complain about having to wait for the check, it is obviously causing problems. When that happens, you need to re-evaluate the custom to see if the benefit is actually worth the price. Is the ego trip from not being disturbed during your meal really worth having to wait at the end for your check?

quote:
Different cultures have different rules and behaviors. Why is it that whenever cultures are discussed, it's ALWAYS the American one who's "wrong", no matter what the issue?

I have no problem with functional rules and behaviors. I also have no problem with functionless rules and behaviors if they don't cause problems.

I do have a problem with functionless rules and behaviors which cause problems. This is irrespective of whether it's American, European, or Asian. I could point out dozens of stupid Asian customs too. This one just happened to be American, and I offered the Asian perspective as a counterpoint to demonstrate that no functionality is lost by ditching this silly custom.


RE: More of a cultural problem
By Reclaimer77 on 12/4/2013 11:38:59 PM , Rating: 2
As someone who has experience in the food service industry, can I offer a viewpoint?

The reason people are complaining about waiting for the check isn't because of any cultural tradition. It's because the server is being inattentive. For whatever reason, you're not getting good service.

If he/she brought the check earlier it wouldn't matter. Because you would still be sitting there, waiting for he/she to pick up your bank card and process the payment anyway, wondering where the HELL your server went off too.

This is why there are general rules regarding how many tables a server should have at once. 4-6 max, and for fine dining never more than two at a time. This ensures the server has adequate time to be attentive to all his/her customers needs.

Unless you're honestly suggesting the check be brought at the absolute earliest possible moment. Which is frankly absurd and unnecessary and gives the impression the server is in some huge rush.

I believe you're applying an unrealistic logistical approach to dining out in order to slant the argument in your favor. Procedural efficiency? You're going out to eat, not filing papers...

quote:
Is the ego trip from not being disturbed during your meal really worth having to wait at the end for your check?


Well lets be clear, this is a rare occurrence. Not the norm. I eat out as much as anyone, and I can probably count on one hand the times I've had to wait a long time to get my check.


Great...
By puter_geek_01 on 12/3/2013 10:31:17 AM , Rating: 3
Another thing that I have to tell my kids NOT to play with at the dinner table.




RE: Great...
By amanojaku on 12/3/2013 11:54:56 AM , Rating: 2
Kids play with forks and knives, too. I'd be more worried about those than the tablets. Especially since the tablets are designed to be played with...

Anyway, a simple solution is to interact with your kids. Keeps 'em busy, ensures you keep an eye on them, and helps develop your familial bond. Jokes and stories are a good start.


perfect
By RU482 on 12/3/2013 1:27:48 PM , Rating: 2
I think Applebees is a perfect test bed for this system, because I'll be damned if I've ever been there and not had an error in the order for someone at the table. remove the stoner waitstaff from the equation, maybe the service...or at least order accuracy...will improve




RE: perfect
By retrospooty on 12/3/2013 1:30:43 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly... If only they could use a drone to deliver it I would be a happy man.


Nasty and dirty!
By djcameron on 12/3/2013 9:03:16 PM , Rating: 2
They have these at our local Applebee's. They are nasty and dirty, and we make them remove them before we'll sit at a table. Want germs? Our from a touchscreen. No thanks.




RE: Nasty and dirty!
By Draconian4771 on 12/4/2013 12:01:45 AM , Rating: 2
That's a good point about the screens being dirty. The paper menus can be dirty as well, but servers are usually good about perdiodically wiping them off.

Maybe they should provide disinfectant wipes next to the menu screens.


a good idea that works in other countries
By purerice on 12/3/2013 9:56:53 PM , Rating: 2
In the country I live in there is generally no tipping anyway but some "family restaurants" have had digital menus for at least 6 or 7 years. There are fewer wait staff and they only come to bring food or answer questions. People get their own drinks from a "drink bar".

The system is extremely efficient and very, very fast. You know what you pay with tax before you order and can split the bill before you even eat so you can leave when you finish.

Also the staff wipe the screen and stylus in between customers and you get wipes when you sit down for your own hands. When I went back stateside to visit family I was shocked at how archaic the system is of dirty tables, slow and unfriendly service demanding tips, uncertain prices, and confusing menus. Good on Applebees for starting something new in the States.




By Rukkian on 12/4/2013 11:23:51 AM , Rating: 2
I have seen several comments on this and other topics claiming servers demand tips. Where are people going that tips are demanded, and better yet, why would you go there. I was a waiter for a few years in High School, and while there are some people that never tip, no matter what, we still had to give decent service. Did we go out of our way to help the person, heck no, but we did still serve them.

I have several times left a very small tip (one time I left $0.01), never leave no tip, as that could be written off as I forgot, whereas leaving a small tip usually should get the point across. Since I was a waiter, I try to figure out if it is a problem with the wait staff, or something out of their control (food quality issues, slow food). If we have to sit around with empty glasses, or need something and they seem to be ignoring us, then I will leave them very little.

I have never been to a place, nor heard of a place where wait staff demanded tips. They are not required at all.


Applebee's?
By BillyBatson on 12/4/2013 10:17:05 AM , Rating: 2
That's great a few restaurants here in LA have already true so thing similar but wih screens at each table instead of an iPad. They all eventually get shut, ordering yourself in his way without a waiter at all hasn't proved popular out here.
However Applebee's is absolutely disgusting low grade food and it doesn't matter how you order since most people here avoid the 1 that we have.




RE: Applebee's?
By BillyBatson on 12/4/2013 1:37:08 PM , Rating: 2
already tried something similar*
I really wish DT had an edit option.


Seen them
By DeesTroy on 12/3/2013 10:52:40 AM , Rating: 3
They put these in one of our local Applebees (apparently as a test) several months ago. The irritating thing to me is that they put video games on the tablets and my kids immediately grab them and want to play with the stupid thing. If you want to play games on it, they add a $1 or $2 charge to the tab and it's super easy for your kids to inadvertantly purchase the games even within the few seconds that it takes us to sit all the kids down then snatch the tablet away from them. We usually ask the wait staff to take the stupid thing away so that our kids don't play with them. If I want my kids playing video games while we wait, I'll hand them my phone.

That said, I've complained every time about the video game charge and it was taken off the bill with no issue by our server. Paying the tab via the tablet is sometimes nice too if you're in a hurry and the kids are getting cranky.




RE: Seen them
By Argon18 on 12/3/13, Rating: 0
Server call button?
By danjw1 on 12/3/2013 11:04:45 AM , Rating: 2
How about a server call button to get them over the table for refills? This is often an annoyance when I am in a restaurant.




Man-in-the-Middle Attacks
By DaveLessnau on 12/3/2013 11:55:13 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know. It seems like this might be an easy target for a man-in-the-middle attack on your credit card. Of course, they can do that to the machines in the back room (or the waitron can just write down the credit card data for a low-tech version). I just hope they consider that when they deploy these things.




Okay Then,
By Arsynic on 12/3/2013 1:04:24 PM , Rating: 2
Can I tip less since the fat-ass waiter is too lazy to come pick up my check? Soon they'll be like the losers who "wait" at buffet restaurants and still think they deserve a tip.




tip your tablet
By Captain Awesome on 12/3/2013 1:49:14 PM , Rating: 2
At the end of the meal, don't forget to tip your tablet!




the next step
By Argon18 on 12/3/2013 2:22:49 PM , Rating: 2
I want my food delivered to the table via drone.




Yeah
By Draconian4771 on 12/3/2013 11:56:47 PM , Rating: 2
As expected, people are chiming in with "OMG THEY'RE JUST DOING THIS SO THEY CAN FIRE THEIR WAIT STAFF. SHAME ON THEM!" *pitchforks raised*

When people finally calm down, they'll realize that you still need servers to bring food to the tables. That is unless you plan on completely changing your business model by forcing your customers to go get their plates of food from the cook, which I can't imagine would be popular with customers.

The biggest problem I foresee would be the confusion caused by some people paying by using the tablet screen, and other people paying by giving money/plastic to their server. But I assume that, if you pay your server, then the tablet screen will update in real time to show that you've paid.




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