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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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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.

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