In the last few years, the explosion of smartphones and tablets has been extended beyond the individual consumer and are rapidly being adopted by entire industries such as the medical industry, educational institutions and the restaurant biz. There’s no question that handheld applications can provide people in their respective fields with a vast amount of information, but the experience it can bring to your customers is priceless.
Chicago Cut, a Chicago-based restaurant is bringing its customers an interactive dining experience through the use of the iPad and a virtual cellar app. Using their wine app, diners can flip through an assortment of wines and make an educated decision.
Customers can spin one of the 750 bottles around to view the back label along with reading reviews, viewing the vineyard on Google maps and can search wine by price or region. Mobile apps such as Hello Vino are great for recommendations however when you’re at a restaurant, you’re limited to the bottles the restaurant has on hand –the reason Chicago Cut’s app is so useful.
I’ve already seen an increase of wine per customer of 20 percent,” Flom said. “I can’t say that the iPad commanded 100 percent, but I can say it commanded a significant portion of that.
Global Mundo Tapas
A restaurant called Global Mundo Tapas located within North Sydney Rydges Hotel in Austrailia has replaced its old school paper menu’s with the iPad and its own menu app. Similar to the foodie apps like Epicurious, diners can flip through images of the dishes prior to ordering and they’ve additionally included information on pairings so each dish can be beautifully matched with the perfect vino. On the back-end, the app ensures customers aren’t ordering dishes or wines that are out of stock. This smart feature automatically removes any item from the menu that is no longer available.
“We have something that presents really well, sells our food really well and is absolutely dynamic. The iPad menu would eventually make it possible to order food based on the weather or even match dishes to a person’s mood.” – Craig Simpson, Rydges area manager.
New York City restaurant 4Food, is a burger joint with a very digital twist. Customers are able to order and customize burgers through the use of an iPad (within the store) or through its interactive website. 4Food has embraced the digital age like no restaurant I’ve seen before. One of the coolest things about 4Food is the ability to save the burgers you’ve made to the food system. After giving your custom burger a title, it saves your burger to the 4Food system and rewards you with a 25 cent credit every time the burger is ordered. Free WiFi, power outlets at every seat coupled with a social feature to “like” food, pretty much makes this restaurant an ideal hang-out for the super-connected foodie.
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The Bottom Line:
In the next few years, we may see tablets becoming a common fixture within restaurants and it will no doubt add a level of awesomeness to dining out. And that’s good news for mobile developers, consumers and restaurants that could even implement social networking tie-ins (marketing opportunities) to the experience. “I just ordered pizza at …”
Utilizing a mobile application to engage customers will bring us a level of superior customer service we’ve never seen before. Say goodbye to the game of grabbing the server’s attention, with one tap of the screen we may be able to send a push notification “Refill my Beer!” The possibilities are endless.