[Type a quote from the document or the summary of an interesting point. You can position the text boxanywhere in the docum...
Incorporating Technology with Dining                                             Then & Now         When was the last time...
Incorporating Technology with DiningZiosk or Presto, and in some areas, a device called eTab, which prompts customers to o...
Incorporating Technology with Diningespecially since they coincide with the host restaurant’s drink menu. And retail compa...
Incorporating Technology with Diningthat we’re not going to be able to run away from technology. It’s getting shoved down ...
Incorporating Technology with DiningReferencesBohndas, Bradley. Applebee’s Assistant Manager. Menomonie, WI. Interview too...
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  1. 1. [Type a quote from the document or the summary of an interesting point. You can position the text boxanywhere in the document. Use the Drawing Tools tab to change the formatting of the pull quote textbox.]Incorporating Technology withDiningTabletop Interactive Computers inRestaurants 10/2/2012
  2. 2. Incorporating Technology with Dining Then & Now When was the last time you went into a restaurant and did not see any TV’s, computers,or touchscreen cash registers? In today’s age, things move at an incredibly fast pace. Peopledon’t want to wait around. What is here and now, and how long is it going to be around? Thesequestions impact all technological trends. An up-and-coming trend that can be found in severalmajor restaurant franchises today are all located on a small tabletop interactive computer calledthe Ziosk (among other names). Let us take a quick look back on restaurant service. Restaurants have been dated backthousands of years. Experts can argue where and exactly when they started, but we’ll leave thatto them. The service in restaurants has drastically changed from 1940 to present time. Going outused to be a social event. People could tell how rich you were, or where you came from by whereyou went for dinner. Going out to eat was possibly America’s favorite past-time, besidesbaseball. People most certainly did not sit down, scarf down their meal, and then leave. They hadcocktails, told stories, and had after-dinner cigarettes. It was more of a production than just ameal. In today’s fast-moving environment, people want to be in and out fast. They want qualityrestaurant service, but they also want the wow factor- something that will grab their attention tokeep them coming back for more. As much as we need servers, and they have always been animportant part of the restaurant experience, could it possibly be time to start seeing serversfading out and being replaced by something else? Perhaps it is. Pay-at-the-table electronicsystems are the latest attraction at major casual dining franchises. Pay-at-the-table electronic systems are paving the way for a new kind of food service,one without personal interaction. They are marketing these systems to a wide variety of people.First, there’s the business man who is sick of waiting for his server to bring his check. He’drather swipe his card, add the tip, and leave without having to play the waiting game. The deviceis marketing toward families who have multiple kids, and want to keep them occupied while“Mom” and “Dad” try to have a relaxing meal. It is a small step towards eliminating wait staff,but it may not be too far off if this trend continues. We could end up seeing a restaurant systemwith just a few staff members to bring out drinks and food, and everything else technology-based. It would save restaurants thousands of dollars, considering they don’t have to pay somany people the minimum wage, which is always on the rise, and it would eliminate schedulingissues within employment. These days, when people walk into a restaurant and sit down, they immediately take outtheir phones. They play around on them until their food arrives. Well, what is happening is thatrestaurants have found out how to use this to their advantage. If the restaurants are not in thecommunication network, they miss out on promotional advantages. Now, with the tabletopdevices, the restaurants can be part of technology craze. If this trend catches on to all restaurants,it can open new doors to other advantageous promotional opportunities, such as selling add spacein the tablets, or as a customer checks out, they see a huge piece of decadent chocolate cake, andnow the customer wants to spend more money. It is a win-win situation if the consumers want it,and so the restaurants can use it to be innovative and keep their revenue up higher than ever. Numbers, Figures, and Experience Chilis Grill & Bar, Applebees, and Chevys Fresh Mex are among the first franchises touse the small, interactive computer screen at diners’ tables. Chili’s has the device, known as theZiosk, at more than one-hundred of its restaurants. Applebee’s is still in a testing stage of the 1Kurt Swanson & Frances Garrity
  3. 3. Incorporating Technology with DiningZiosk or Presto, and in some areas, a device called eTab, which prompts customers to orderanother round of drinks every so often. Even a sports bar in St. Louis has incorporated the touch-screen device into its business. For a monthly fee, casual dining facilities are paving the waytowards the next best convenience factor in a technology-based world. Even high end restaurantshave use for tabletop devices. In research, it’s been found that fifty-two percent of diners would use an electronicpayment system. 31% are likely to use screens with games or Internet access (Technomic Inc.,National Restaurant Association). The devices have also been able to get dessert orders up by30% by showing glossy photos twenty minutes after the wait staff walks away from the table.The promotional photos and information supported by the device are what really makes theZiosk, or like devices, attractive to restaurants. Even tipping has increased, thanks topredetermined amounts given on the screen when paying the bill. As the first franchise to roll out the touchscreen device, Ziosk, in its restaurants, Chili’smain concern going in was the fear of less interaction between wait staff and customer.However, after going nationwide, it’s been proven that there is still the same amount ofinteraction before, just without the hassle of dealing with the bill. The Ziosk does not includeChili’s full menu, just drinks and desserts. So the wait staff still has plenty to do. After the waitstaff takes the dinner orders, customers can enjoy a nice range of activities to consume wait time.Kids can play videogames (free or low-cost) or watch cartoons. The adults can play trivia games,read USA Today, and even watch movie trailers (and see what’s playing near-by). The wait staffhas noticed that a lot of the time, when the food comes out, the Ziosk disappears from the table,so the parents can engage in conversation with their children while enjoying their food. Chili’salso has taken note that it’s easier to explain the Ziosk with the screen facing the wait staff, asthere won’t be the distraction of the lights and colors (kids like lights and colors, after all).For the most part, Chili’s is clearly doing something right. With their table-turn times down, tipsup, and promotional advertising on the device being effective in consumerism, the franchise willkeep its revenue increasing, and will keep ahead of the curve of casual dining. The franchisemust make sure to keep the wait staff on their toes, however. The Ziosk, and like products, is notnecessarily meant to replace them, just enhance their job. The wait staff needs to make sure thatthey still know what working in the hospitality field means: keeping the customer happy throughface-to-face interaction, not just through a machine. Otherwise, employment might end updecreasing. That is the downfall of technology. The more knowledge we have on technology, theless we are needed to do certain jobs. Texas Roadhouse tested the Ziosk to see if they would incorporate the device in theirbusiness. The wait staff found the device troublesome with having to charge the battery and ittaking up space on an already busy tabletop, even with table-turn times decreasing slightly.Texas Roadhouse decided not to use the device, which is a mistake. Restaurants need to getbehind ways to increase sales and lower costs that can be lowered. Battery-life of the Ziosktypically lasts for 18 hours, which means it should last an entire workday without needing arecharge- unless it is defective. Also, the screens can be taken by the wait staff at any time toincrease tabletop space. If the owner of Texas Roadhouse had really seen the potential of theZiosk, he wouldn’t have decided not to offer the product in the restaurant. As important of a product that this is for the hospitality industry, it can be used in manydifferent work fields. As the Ziosk, and like products, includes promotional tools, any businesscan pay the device maker to promote coupons, sales, and specific products. Device makers areactually planning on making liquor companies pay a fee for advertisements and coupons, 2Kurt Swanson & Frances Garrity
  4. 4. Incorporating Technology with Diningespecially since they coincide with the host restaurant’s drink menu. And retail companies, likeWal-Mart, can pay a fee to promote any sales items. All businesses should take advantage of thepromotional tools of these interactive computer screens to increase revenue in their businesses,not just business in the hospitality field. Anyone can take part in this new-age technologicaladvancement. Expert Opinion To get expertise input, we talked to an Applebee’s restaurant manager, Bradley Bohndas,who is the assistant manager at the Menomonie, Wisconsin location. He is currently a student atUniversity of Wisconsin-Stout. The first thing we talked about was clientele. We wanted to knowwho eats at this Applebee’s. According to Bohndas, Applebee’s clientele at this location ismostly businessmen coming off of interstate 90. They stop in order to get off the road, and take abreak. The restaurant also gets a significant amount of families from the surrounding areas, andof course, students. They like to keep their food moderately priced, and it is considered casualdining. Bohndas considered it to be “like a local friendly pub, with slightly upscale food.” We then discussed whether Mr. Bohndas had heard about the hype of the Ziosk device,and if he had any opinion on it at all. Currently, this location does not offer the product, or anylike product. Bohndas told me he had eaten at a Chili’s before where they had had a Ziosk. Hethought it was “different.” He said he could see how it “could relieve servers and make their jobseasier.” He also thought it was good for promoting many various food options and games to keepcustomers “occupied.” We asked him if he considers this location of Applebee’s behind nowbecause competitors such as Chili’s and Chevy’s Fresh Mex are already using the Ziosk stations.Bradley told us we’re “always behind.” Even though Chili’s may have caught onto thistechnology first, “there is always a possibility it will not catch on, or it will eventually becomeextinct.” We asked Mr. Bohndas if he knew about the possibility of Applebee’s adding Ziosks, ora similar product. We wanted to know what kind of implications it could mean to his business,such as training employees how to use it, or possibly having to hire a technology specialist incase the system were to crash or have any other difficulties. We also asked if the payoff wasworth the work, taking this region into thought. Bohndas said that “every time you get newsystems in the workplace, you’re going to have to make time to train employees.” You alwayshave to be willing to “change with the times, and adapt to what corporate is doing.” This regionarea may not be the best place for this kind of technology, but if it is as big as we think it will be,we would be making a poor decision not to invest time, money, and workers into it. Having said all of the above, we can now fully see from different aspects that this trend isdefinitely in mid-hype. But, what could possibly happen in the future? Imagine a diningexperience where one walks into the restaurant, and there is no one to be greeted by. One sitsdown, electronic menus waiting on the table for usage. He or she has a question, but who does heor she ask if there happens to be any peanuts, or other allergens, in that entrée? He or she ordersby selecting food, beverage, and dessert on the tabletop device. Then he or she sits back, relaxes,and watches some TV, or play available games on the electronically integrated table. He or sheeats the meal, which is shoved out of a shoot or tube, and then you swipe your credit card.Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Unfortunately as much as this trend will save businessmen money, and maybe thebusinesses are giving the consumer what they are asking for, but perhaps it’s getting a little tooout of hand. Having servers around, and enjoying human interaction, is what the diningexperience should be all about. This is the hospitality business, after all. Now, it almost seems 3Kurt Swanson & Frances Garrity
  5. 5. Incorporating Technology with Diningthat we’re not going to be able to run away from technology. It’s getting shoved down ourchildren’s throats every day. And if you think our generation had it bad, wait for the nextgeneration. If we’re socially damaged by electronics now, we may not have seen the worst of ityet. One may think that touchscreen tablets at the dinner table couldn’t possibly change diningexperiences forever. One could very well be correct’ this could simply be a fad, and there wouldbe no further worries. However, if this trend ends up worldwide, it’s going to affect more thanjust our dining. It’s like the butterfly effect, with one flap of the wings, everything has anoutcome that further affects that outcome. For example, from notebooks, to computers, to laptopsto tablets: where is the dinner tablet going to start being the norm? And when does the socialnorm become having our faces glued to computer screens everywhere we go? The advantages to simply integrate the restaurant experience with technology can be agreat idea, but it could also very well help set industry standards on food production, food, andpersonal hygiene factors (the number one reason for food illness). It can keep people on the go,and help fuel up a hungry, constantly changing nation. The great thing about investing in therestaurant business is that people always will need to eat, so it’s a solid bet to invest in thesechanges, but don’t let this fool you, fads in restaurants can come and go just as the variousflavors of ketchup did. The business will always be evolving. It’s up to us to keep track of whatwill be cost-effective, and help with the economy to promote a unified decision in “keeping upwith the times.” The disadvantages, or the negative outlook, on this trend may be more of societal valuesthan anything else. We are losing the “great American dining experience” where our wait staffmakes us feel important, and we have someone to chit-chat with if dining alone. Who can answerour questions, and make everything better when things go wrong? And things do go wrong. Ifthis trend sits down with the industry, millions of workers could be jobless, raising the nation’sunemployment rate astronomically. This trend could be a new way of dining, and not necessarilya bad way, but to what extent? The social norm is changing, and we have to keep up. However,the world could become quite cold to our next generations as we are greeted by robots withinteractive games processed in, instead of a warm smile that seats us at an available table. Withtrends, we must always see from two points of view. Things are never black and white anymore. 4Kurt Swanson & Frances Garrity
  6. 6. Incorporating Technology with DiningReferencesBohndas, Bradley. Applebee’s Assistant Manager. Menomonie, WI. Interview took place onOctober 1, 2012.Liddle, Alan J. The magic touch: Restaurants embrace operational, marketing benefits of self-service tech. Nation’s Restaurant New. http://nrn.com/article/magic-touch#ixzz286LH5zdq.August 8, 2011.Lowrey, Lauren. Chili’s lets patrons pay, play at table: Chain first to have touch screens attable. http://www.wishtv.com/dpp/news/business/chilis-lets-patrons-pay-play-at-table.September 30, 2011.Murano, Peter S. Understanding Food Science and Technology. Copyright 2003.Nassauer, Sarah. Screens Get a Place at the Table: Restaurants Try to Make It Easier to Pay,Keep Kids Entertained; Bigger Tips for Electronic Waiters?. The Wall Street Journal.http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303552104577436233174389816.html?mod=ITP_personaljournal_0. May 30, 2012.Tabletop Media. www.ziosk.com. Retrieved on September 28, 2012. 5Kurt Swanson & Frances Garrity

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