Dining out and logging in


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Dining out and logging in

  1. 1. The University of MemphisDining Out andLogging In:A Look Into Tablet Integration in Restaurants and the Social Media ImpactsRoss Hornish2/13/2012
  2. 2. Overview Tablets are being used in people’s business and personal lives at an escalating rate.Why not take the power of the tablet, harness it, and use it with one of American’s mostcoveted experiences: dining out? A few restaurants have already started to use the tablet intheir everyday course of business as well as businesses writing industry specific software to goalong with custom tablets. This is a trend that you need to be prepared to see a lot more of inthe coming future. Tablets are nothing new by today’s standards. The origins of the tablet can actually betraced all the way back to 1888 (U.S. patent No. 386,815).1 The real breakthroughs were AlanKay’s DynaBook of the 70’s, Apple’s Newton of the 80’s, and Microsoft’s Tablet PC of the2000’s.2 But it wasn’t until the general acceptance of smart phones and the transformation ofthe internet that sparked the industry that is projected to be selling over 200 million units andhave revenue streams that will approach $100 billion by 2015.3 Apple is leading the way with its acclaimed iPad as it has 67% of the tablet market.4Many other companies are trying to break into the market that include but are not limited to:HP, Amazon, Samsung, and soon to be Google. E La Carte, a California based company,produces its Presto tablet that is strictly to be used in restaurants, which are then leased out tothe businesses. The more people have tablets, the more people will be accustomed to them, the morepeople will need to be entertained by them…at all times. One of the lacking characteristics ofdining out is the entertainment factor. Tablets provide a cheap alternative to providing a bandevery night. Imagine coming into a pizza restaurant with the family. Everything from the drinkorder to the selection of what the family wants on the pizza is done through a tablet. Whileyou are waiting for your food, you can play trivia or a multitude of other games with the wholefamily. It’s a way to reconnect families and get everyone interacting at the table. The restaurant industry needs this. Since the 2007 recession, restaurant sales havebeen stagnant. Discretionary spending dropped along with the need to go out and eat. To addto restaurant owners woes, we’ve seen a more health conscience America transformingthrough the recession. This leads to the perfect opportunity of restaurateurs to take a new MKTG 7546 – Dr. Breybusiness model and inject a new type of culture into their customer’s eating out habits. This Trend Assessmentgives way to the rise of the restaurant tablet business model and opens a whole new door forhow businesses will have to utilize their social and digital marketing. 1
  3. 3. Cases Stacked is a California based restaurant that opened in the Summer of 2011 and has three locations. The restaurant was originally slated as a “Tablet” Restaurant i.e. from the beginning Stacked wanted to offer its customers a new experience. Themain premise behind Stacked is that the customer gets to take items that are simple enough tomake and “build them” on the tablet: pizzas, burgers, salads, and more. Media buzz along with an article in a national paper (USA Today) helped bolster theopening in the summer of 2011. Stacked has since opened up two other locations in Californiawith each one getting bigger than the last in terms of size. Although numbers haven’t beenreleased because they are a private company, general consensus is that they are doing well asfar as volume of customers. Stacked has many positive reviews on Yelp! with people adding input into the wholeexperience. As you would think, some people will always want a server to manage the order,give suggestions, etc., but there were many positive reviews as to the process of “building”your own food. This company utilizes social media well, but they could do a better job ofincorporating social media to help drive consumer demand. They keep customers posted onTwitter and Facebook every 2-3 days about specials that are going on, they post pictures ofpeople enjoying milkshakes together, and overall have a decent online presence. Burgatory is a restaurant that is located in the Water Works Mall inPittsburgh, PA. They were originally open as a place with the classicrestaurant setup with a hostess and server. They became increasingly popularand had waits of up to two hours.6 Based off of their location and the highdemand, they adopted the tablet business model to cater to the needs oftheir customers. With the mall location, they linked the system with tablets to send out textmessages to customers when their table was ready. This way, customers could go around, shop,and do other chores as necessary so they would not have to waste time waiting in line. This is a great example of a company having a solid core vision and adopting a process MKTG 7546 – Dr. Breyto meets the needs of the customer. Where Stacked opened solely as a place where the tablet Trend Assessmentwould be producing the orders, Burgatory had to adopt the model. Hopefully, we’ll see morerestaurants in similar situations adopt the tablet model. Burgatory is another smaller company taking full advantage of the digital media aspectand taking it further with their online campaign more so than Stacked. They post 1-3 times a 2
  4. 4. day with updates about specials or special happenings on both Twitter and Facebook, they haveamazing reviews on Yelp!, and they are generally doing a wonderful job of connecting with theircustomer’s. The only place where they could improve with digital media is to possibly havepeople log into their social media accounts while on the tablet, post what they ordered, howthe service went, etc. Potential applications in unrelated industries have already begun. Two industries thatcome to mind because of the huge paper trail associated with them are Real Estate services andInsurance. Bradley Rice, fellow student in the Professional MBA program, works for aCommercial Real Estate firm that works with The Hartford. He stated that they began as of lastyear using tablets along with GIS integrated software to show to their clients. They are able toshow a host of information and properties just carrying a tablet. I used to do Insurance Servicesfor ADP, and I can say that the paper trail associated with Insurance is almost mind boggling. Tohave a tablet to stream line the process, as well as being able to make corrections and/oralterations on the go would be crucial. Not so much an industry as a department within all industries is Sales. Sales personsbeing able to use tablets instead of carrying around a number of brochures and other itemscuts down on time to get to more sales, makes the buying process easier, and helps to show alittle flash per se to the customers. Andrea, sales representative for Budweiser for the YoungAve. Deli, uses a tablet to go over possible beer selections and gets up to the second availabilityof the selections.Interview I interviewed Greg Wadlow and Joe Wadlow of my former place of employment, MonteCellos, as they have over 50 years of restaurant experience between the two of them. Joe andGreg Wadlow are majority owners of Monte Cello’s Inc. with the franchised Monte Cello’sItalian restaurants in the Pittsburgh, PA area. I felt it was more beneficial to get a perspectiveon how social media has affected their industry and how a tablet business model may changethe dining experience. Greg and Joe both agreed that tablet integration is what would be considered “businessworthy”, but with the stipulation that it depends on the customer base. Like most markets, MKTG 7546 – Dr. Breythere are certain areas of Pittsburgh where tablets would most likely be a smash, while there Trend Assessmentare others where it would most likely fail miserably. They both agreed that the best way forthem to use would be to have more of an integration of the product with the servers and seehow the customers react. “The restaurant industry needs to keep up with the current culture,”stated Greg, “Otherwise, you will fall by the wayside.” 3
  5. 5. They see this affecting the restaurant industry where more and more places willintegrate technology. Whether it being handed an iPad while you wait, receiving a textmessage when your table is ready, or using your iPhone to participate in “Trivia”, they do seemore restaurants somehow incorporating technology into their customer’s experience. Thereal game changer could potentially be the tablet ordering system. After speaking with them, they noted that they do have one market specifically wherethey believe a tablet would work amicably. Upon the suggestion, they are looking into movingone of their locations and possibly setting up a tablet model to coincide with their Italian foodmenu.Opinion I believe that incorporating tablets into restaurants can change part of the industry. I donot believe it’s going to put servers out of work, close restaurants that do not have them, ormake people less interactive because of them. With the tablet looking to more prevalentwithin the next three years, I see more and more people being open to the concept of makingtheir own orders. The consumer segment that Joe, Greg, and I agreed on would be middle to upper-middle class working families. This segment generally likes technology and would be able totake advantage of the family interaction that has been lost with children playing on their iPhoneor Nintendo DS while dining out. The other segment that would benefit from the tablet modelwould be people that go out to eat by themselves. What would now hinder the person whojust needed a bite to eat but due to availability and/or timing has to go out by themselves?Restaurants have a lot of the “two-top” seats that could be filled more often with singles justtrying to eat and enjoy the overall environment. The tablet trend could change moving forward with more advertising appearing on thetablet itself. With it being harder to reach consumers through broadcast media, advertisingbudgets may be well spent on using tablet advertising. There could be a coupon section on thetablet where companies in the surrounding area could post promotions that could then in turnbe reciprocated with the restaurants promotions. There could also be a timer for inactivity;upon reaching a 2-3 minute span, advertisements could come across the screen in a “screen- MKTG 7546 – Dr. Breysaver” format. Also, when games are played, there could be the quick 15-20 second online Trend Assessmentadvertisements that are played before the game can begin. The best way to keep a competitive advantage with other restaurants offering the tabletmodel is to brand the experience itself. Letting the customer feel empowered by theexperience that they are putting the order in themselves and not the fact that someone is not 4
  6. 6. taking the order as they usually do is crucial. Stacked has a good slogan that pertains to themessage that the customer has the power and is essentially building their own food - “FoodWell Built”. Along with that, I do believe that using the tablet in as many entertaining areas asyou can would help set your restaurant apart from the rest. Running trivia along with othergames with everyone in the restaurant who doesn’t opt out is a good differentiator; it helps tohold on to repeat customers and give your customers a sense of community. Lastly, those thatcan integrate Foursquare, Twitter, and Facebook in with their tablet dining experience will beable to take advantage of the driving force that is social media. In conclusion, I believe tablet integration in restaurants will help change our diningexperience in a positive manner. It isn’t for everyone and it will take some time for it tobecome more prevalent. It may be as simple as being handed a wine list or as encompassing ashaving your main dining interaction with a nine by seven inch screen. Americans social lives arechanging around technology. Therefore, the technology within our dining environments mustchange as well. Tablet purchases are becoming more prevalent and will increase at a steadyfifty percent rate in each of the next three years. The company that can learn to develop thetechnology with advertising and at the same time utilize social media will become the frontrunner. MKTG 7546 – Dr. Brey Trend Assessment 5
  7. 7. References3Cocotas, Alex Tablet Market Forecast Business Insider 21 Jan 2012 http://www.businessinsider.com/tablet-market-forecast-sales-will-reach-nearly-500-million-units- a-year-by-2015-2012-24Etherlington, Darrell: How Apple Can Keep Control of the Tablet Market Business Week 22 Nov 2011 http://www.businessweek.com/technology/how-apple-can-keep-control-of-the-tablet-market- 11222011.html5Graham, Jefferson iPads Increasingly Crop Up on Restaurant Menus for Ordering USA Today 20 Sep 2011 http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2011-09-20/ipad-restaurant-menu- ordering/50482900/12Holwerda, Thom: A Short History of the Tablet Computer OS News, 15 Jan 2010 http://www.osnews.com/story/22739/A_Short_History_of_the_Tablet_Computer6Linderman, Teresa: Digital Dining: How iPads and Smart Phones are Refining Customer Service Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 26 Jun 2011 http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11207/1162903-28- 0.stm1Smith, Catharine: History of Tablet PC’s Huffington Post 15 Jun 2010 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/15/history-tablet-pc- photos_n_538806.html#s77827&title=RAND_Tablet_1964Wadlow, Greg – Co-owner Monte Cello’s Inc. (Joe’s son)Wadlow, Joe – Co-owner, Co-founder Monte Cello’s Inc. est. 1980 MKTG 7546 – Dr. Brey Trend Assessment 6