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

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...

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.

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