Dream use for the iPad.

Discussion in 'iPad' started by nickhutson, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. nickhutson macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2009
    I had a dream last night that I was in a restaurant (I think it was TGI Friday's), and the waiter presented me with an iPad and asked me to make my order. I input my card details, and then chose what food I wanted by just clicking the items on the menu - and then he locked it into the table and I was able to update my meal choices, add things etc when I wanted.

    I am sure my dream seems like a long shot - but do you think it could have any possibility?

    I am personally more excited about the iPad for the way it can be used in retail/commercial spaces than private and personal space.

    What do you all think?
  2. -Ryan- macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2009
    No point. It's much easier just to tell the server what you would like, rather than hunt around a screen looking for it there.
  3. Nieval Suspended

    Mar 13, 2008
    Already been done with windows Surface where the part of the table in front of you is the menu, cashier, etc.; much hipper than an iPad IMHO.
  4. -Ryan- macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2009
    This idea is just so stupid I've had to come back to comment again; what the hell is the point in having a server if their job is taken by a bloody iPad? :rolleyes:
  5. LaNex macrumors 6502

    Feb 13, 2010
    Personally I like the idea - if the menu is accessible to the iPad screen reader for eyesight challenged bods, VoiceOver.

    Braille menus are often physically huge and not very detailed. And not all visually impaired people read braille (I didn't learn until a few years ago and my braille is still utterly crap). Visually impaired folk can ask the server to read out the menu but the quality, shall we say, of response you get when doing this depends on the person serving you.

    I know this makes no odds to ninety ninety point nine percent of you (and 99.9 percent of everyone else in the world too), but for me as a person with very little vision, this dream idea would be great.
  6. LaNex macrumors 6502

    Feb 13, 2010
    Because not everything you might want to know about a restaurant is in the menu ? How about if you want to order off menu ? How about if you want to ask something about the food that would be too detailed or to complicated to be included in the menu and needs a human response ? And because the human touch is still good for business ?

    And you need a real person in the mix because the iPad can't actually bring your food to you either.

    Yet. ;)
  7. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Four months later you return to the restaurant just to find out that since you were there first all the iPads had been dropped and shattered into many pieces. Since the management chain realized the folly of using delicate electronics in the non-delicate world of food service, they returned to the more sensible analog method of pen and paper.
  8. macduke macrumors G3


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    What? This is the best use you could think of?
  9. LaNex macrumors 6502

    Feb 13, 2010
    Just to expand on this idea a touch -

    This could free up the servers from the time they take standing there taking your order and make that time available for actually bringing food out and dealing with other face to face customer issues.

    So basically the menu and ordering process is taken over by the iPad but everything else, which needs human interaction, is down to the server. This also means that if you don't want to do the iPad ordering bit yourself, a server is on hand to do it for you. My mother, for example, would pitch a crap fit if she had to use an iPad or similar to order food. she's a confirmed technophobe.

    Of course one could have a system when you order ad pay from the iPad and then go collect your food from a counter when a badge pops up on the iPad to tell you it's ready - and the only human interaction with the process is done in the kitchen and you as a customer don't even see those guys - but it would a touch soulless in my opinion.

    So it's true - this idea is not likely to happen in the short term, and even if it were to happen, let's face it, it would be a fairly exclusive sort of restaurant that might do this. But imagining the possibilities of the iPad - as we have no further info on it since the keynote and most of that info has been discussed to death- is the fun part right now, right ?
  10. -Ryan- macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2009
    Did you quote the wrong person? I don't think this was aimed at me unless I'm missing the sarcasm.. :p
  11. LaNex macrumors 6502

    Feb 13, 2010
    Does the iPad always have to be curing cancer and bringing world peace then ?

    Cannot it not just, you know, be an every day device too ? Serious question, not wanting to start an argument.
  12. Eso macrumors 68000


    Aug 14, 2008

    To be fair to the OP, at least he did say it was a dream...
  13. LaNex macrumors 6502

    Feb 13, 2010
    I quoted you because you said you thought it there was no point to the idea. I think it's a good idea, for the reasons I stated in the post with the quotes of yours in. I was trying to pose questions to consider if one thinks it's a bad idea. If you get what I mean.

    Have I got you wrong, and you think it is in fact a good idea ? I didn't get that impression from your two posts in the thread. :)

    Interesting point. And sadly likely the harsh rocks of reality that this dreamboat idea might come a cropper on. :)

    However, last time I went to eat out I am fairly sure the server had a device not dissimilar to the electronic signing pads delivery people have (at least, they do here anyway) to take my order on - although the menu of course was still a paper thing. It was a rugged beast this little mahcine, granted, and one would imagine the servers take pretty good care of such thing most of the time -- but there is no reason why such an iPad like device couldn't be made hardy. Or at least hardier than it seems to be as we know it now - which of course is, not very well.

    I've just looked at this thread and seen that I've had a real lot to say so, I'll let someone else get a word in now. :)
  14. -Ryan- macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2009
    Well, as I'm bored and don't have class for another two hours, I'll take the bait. :) The responses you posted are all effectively arguments against the use of the iPad in this situation.

    That is part of the job of the waiter.

    Again, something that could be better dealt with by human interaction rather than trying to use something less intuitive than human speech. No matter how awesome the iPad may seem, talking to a real person will generally get you what you want more easily.

    I don't understand this point. This is a point against the use of an iPad. Exactly the reason why it wouldn't work.

    Again, see the previous point.

    I still think you quoted the wrong person.. :p
  15. ckbook macrumors member

    Aug 16, 2007
    This Surface product sounds awesome. Where can I get one?
  16. Nieval Suspended

    Mar 13, 2008
    I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic or serious but if its the latter here's a picture of what I think is Windows Surface (but if not serves as a close example). As for when Windows surface is available I'm not really sure, they've demoed it a few times but noting serious yet. I'm sure other members know a whole lot more about this than I do so maybe they'll chip in.

    Attached Files:

  17. FlashHead macrumors regular

    Feb 22, 2010
    It would have to be a very, very simple and limited menu. As a former waiter, I can tell you that it takes a while even for some experienced to find their way around the computers used to input orders. You need to learn which items are in which submenus. Drink orders would be nightmare with premium liquor choice, preparation method, shaken or stirred, salt or no salt, dry, rocks, up, splash, garnish. And any slightly unusual request (which happens ALL the time - but is just unusual enough to not be included in the standard options requires a "see server" and instructions to the chef. Now, could you imagine having everyone's mother being handed an ipad and being expected to navigate their way around.

    Servers' main job would go from taking orders to being tech support. And besides, who would be there to UPSELL the customer.

    Some things will never be replaced by computer.
  18. raremage macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2005
    Orlando, Florida
    Personally, I think a more interesting option might be to make self-placed orders available to people who bring their own iPad. Jump onto the restaurant's WiFi and somehow give me the option to download their menu app, and off you go.

    The key being ubiquitousness - take it with you everywhere, use it anywhere.
  19. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kansas City
    While anything is possible, not sure how practical using them as menu's would be. The safety issue if a child broke one, cut themselves etc... then lawsuits to follow. Not to mention iPad's would be very expensive menu's for someone to spill liquid on as people usually have drinks at the table prior to placing an order.

    Aside from the cost to implement it, the service would suffer. I want to be able to ask a question when I order something if need be. I don't want to have to find an iPad and search how to order an refill on my drink. If i'm paying for the food and service, I expect just that, not some automated system that takes away from the personal service only a waiter or waitress can offer.

    We have a local sport bar and grill that has a touch screen installed in every booth. It offers you the ability to watch TV, any channel you wish, or play several games which can keep the kids entertained while waiting. This can work as it has nothing to do with the service or food but simply a way to entertain people in a unique way while they wait for their food.
  20. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Apr 22, 2005
    It would be cool if the iPad could provide additional info that you don't normally get in the menu. For example, all of the items could have pictures and full nutritional info. It could also help you budget your meal by seeing the totals right as you order (restaurants probably wouldn't like this so much).

    Obviously there are some practical issues with trying to use the iPad like this, but in theory it's a cool idea.
  21. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    You had said: "what the hell is the point in having a server if their job is taken by a bloody iPad?"

    LaNex was listing things the server could still do even if the taking orders from the menu part of the server's job was taken over by the iPad.

    Personally, I thought LaNex's post made perfect sense as a response to your post he quoted.
  22. Chiefthinker macrumors newbie

    Dec 8, 2008
    Ryan, you really shouldn't have felt the need to "come back"...as the saying goes “It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.” Mark Twain...... who, in case you never heard of him, was not stupid.

    I had the exact same thought as the OP 6 years ago and it is NOT a stupid idea.

    BTW, this would NOT eliminate "servers" ....as only a bloody idiot would think the food would "serve" itself:rolleyes:.

    Just think about it for a minute...first, it has to be "built into" the table then laminated while maintaining the capacitive touch ability so no spills can destroy the iPad. Now, imagine the possibilities and benefits for a restaurant (especially large chains)
    • Having an interactive menu with appropriate "PAID" advertising ..think "Miller Beer" on the beer page. Coke on the burger page.
    • Every alcohol company has a "marketing budget" that they spend on signs etc .
    • This "ad revenue" ALONE would probably pay for the iPads in under a year. Think Google ad words where the vendors would "bid" on the rights to a banner ad especially with large chains like TGIF, Applebees etc.
    • Promoting the daily specials would be easy as pie :)(see how you might have an incremental dessert sale)
    • Most chains redo their menus 4 times a year. Many with very expensive laminated, colored booklets. This high cost would be eliminated and allow them to electronically update any menu item(s) from corporate directly at any time.
    • How about eliminating coloring books and crayons replaced by free video games for all the kids?..another cost savings.
    • GAMES GAMES GAMES ....both single player and mutiplayer. Think Megatouch...anther additional revenue stream. Do you have any idea how much each of those "game only" machines bring in per month? Well I do, and it is in the HUNDREDS of dollars that are now split with the vending machine distributor. Again, this would pay for the iPads in months...not years.
    • Internet Internet Internet...do I need to spoon feed you about that?
    • Convenience Convenience Convenience..have you ever wanted another beer but couldn't get the waiter's attention because they were too busy?? How about paying your bill ..ever have to wait for that?
    • Collect email addresses from customers so you can do email marketing. FYI, most chains in the US are already doing that manually!
    • Greatly increased productivity from staff while reducing training cost.
    • Reduced order errors and providing an "on demand" reorder and checkout.
    • Jukebox at your table. ANOTHER revenue source! All conveniently added to your bill!
    • TV at your table. Even you might get that one.
    • Social apps for flirting and "breaking the ice";) something you sure could use!!!:p
    • Ever hear of NTN? Google it or just go to http://www.buzztime.com/

    I could go on and on but have given away WAY TOO much info/ideas already:eek:. I seriously thought about developing such an "ecosystem" for some large chain restaurant ......as they would be able to afford/finance such a large project while determining "proof of concept" and financial/productivity benefits. This was all LONG before the iPad. I stopped because I found out that some "unknown" guy was already ahead of me. The guy?.....Nolan Bushnell ......ever hear of him? or are you too young and dumb??:rolleyes:

    He was only.... the co-founder and former CEO of both Atari and Chuck E. Cheese. The only problem as far as I can determine.....he was too early in the game and tried to do it only in his restaurant(s). The name of which is uWink http://www.uwink.com/. Check them out and see where they were/are headed.

    I met his son (who was in charge of software development) at their original flagship restaurant who told me they were using Mac mini's for all the networked touch screens. I had a nice 2 hour conversation with him regarding their platform & network development.

    While they have changed their approach as their restaurants (the absolute toughest business I have ever been in) never did take off. They are now offering their platform only and I am sure they are salivating over the iPad.

    Anyone interested in moving forward on such a project or have contacts within a corporate chain for further discussions please PM me. :D

    BTW, the Rio in Vegas has the iBar with about 10 surface computers which you can't even get on they are so busy http://www.riovegasnights.com/
  23. TraceyS/FL macrumors 601

    Jan 11, 2007
    North Central Florida
    Gee, if i could input my own order... then i might actually GET what I ordered.

    And then the server might quit blaming it on the cook that obviously can't read.... because they can of course type it correctly :rolleyes:
  24. s1m macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2008
    I can more imagine iPad being in fixed locations so people can order from them a bit like the self service beer place in London.

    The iPad could show visuals of the food so people know what to expect.

    At Wagamamas the servers use a device like a Palm Pilot to take orders - I can see the iPod touch being more useful in that regard than the iPad simply due to size...
  25. johndango macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2010
    Redmond, Wa
    Yeah You can't beat the Surface here. If MS could find a way to make it cheap enough for most chain restaurants, that'd be sweet and WAY better then the iPad.

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