Trends in Writing, The Arts, Regional Events, and High Desert Living

Table Top Tablet for Your Dining Ease

 It had to happen. The electronic age of handheld games, PDAs, a cell phone that will let you purchase as well as communicate, these are all transforming faster than we can afford to upgrade.

Table Tech

New electronic waitresses sit on your table


Now the newer trend is to have an automated cashier at your table. I don’t mean standing at your table; I mean a small e-cashier sitting on your table.

You may have seen these in the large franchise restaurants like Applebee’s, TGIF, Chili’s and Red Robin, among those in the High Desert. It sits unobtrusively at the rear of your table or right in your face, either way, you can even opt for a pre-paid game, the news, see the shop’s menu and specials, and more. You can even ignore it and pay the traditional ways of cash or card handed directly to the cashier as you leave.

I talked to several waitresses who will be anonymous, of course, and found that this trend creates mixed feelings. I figured the younger patrons would quickly grasp the ease of the unit and use it as masterfully as WarCraft. But not so. They’re concerned about someone losing their job.

The latest news is that Applebee’s started the trend and IHOP soon joined in.

From their web site:   For more than 30 years, Applebee’s has defined the casual dining experience in America, influencing food trends for more than 1 million guests every day and defining value and service for the industry. Today, Applebee’s steps into the future to redefine and enhance the guest experience through the installation of 100,000 E la Carte Presto tablets, powered by Intel, on every table and multiple bar positions at more than 1,800 Applebee’s® restaurants in the United States by the end of 2014.

DineEquity, franchisor of Applebee’s and IHOP® restaurants, announced the relationship with an aggressive schedule for installation throughout the Applebee’s system. The tablets, which enable guests to add to their orders, pay, and play games from their seats, will also be introduced at IHOP locations.

With the convenience of swiping your credit card down the edge of the screen, you have no need of talking to a cashier as you leave the restaurant. This topic alone, replacing some of the cashier staff, has caused patrons to bristle at the fact. The younger generation patrons under 50 feel pretty much the same as patrons over 50. They don’t like killing off another staff position. More unemployed or part-time staff. No good.

Some diners love the convenience but then wonder about its safety. Most franchises will have secure coding at the level of ATMs so the fear factor is reduced. Yet, if hackers can jump into The White House, Lowe’s, and Target, who is really safe? Others said that handing a credit card to a person can be just as dangerous when they duplicate the card behind closed doors.

Sometimes the restaurants with loud sports bars make it hard to hear a transaction at the table. Using a quick swipe of the table top tablet offers quiet, quick, and quality service. Units can offer their shop’s complete menu as well.

Discussion at our table centered on enjoying ambiance, conversation with real people, and the skill of a waitress knowing her menu and pricing much easier than scrolling through a menu on screen. One server stated with a grin, “You might as well get use to it. I think these are here to stay.”    

Missing the Arm of Casino Slots?

                                             Missing the Arm of Casino Slots?

 Is it the trend that we will just accept like the ATM, the smart phone, and slot machine with no arm? Perhaps.



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  1. November 2, 2014    

    There are some issues with those machines. For instance, one of my friends reported that they were charged 99 cents, for uiimited game play, each time they restarted the game during their meal at a restaurant instead of it being a single charge for unlimited game play during their entire visit. I have used the machines several times to pay for my meals. They are convenient. Unfortunately, I am a dinosaur. I prefer people to machines. Not only do I miss the arm on my slot machine, I miss being able to drop in quarters to play and then collecting my winnings in a cup.

  2. November 8, 2014    

    We were at Applebee’s the first time they ever used the machines. It was so weird. We too prefer the waitress more than a machine. You are right, the new technology is moving forward so fast we can hardly keep up. Such is life now. I am old fashioned and all the changes boggles the mind. The younger generation take it for granted. HA!

    Have a great week.

  3. November 9, 2014    

    Yes, Jeanne, new technology can overwhelm us. My aging father used to be a very fast typist who was chosen by the OSS in World War II to decode and encode top-secret messages. However, when he was presented with a computer, he didn’t want any part of it! Too much technology for him. Thank you for visiting my blog!

  4. November 10, 2014    

    Years ago, I also heard of an underground movement to defy the electronic gismos and credit card gadgets, by only trading in food and livestock. A bird in hand was much safer. They refused to be suckered by the electronic age. Have to admit it’s hard to pay for a burger and fries with a bottle of goat’s milk and a bale of hay.

    And where do you put the change?

  5. November 10, 2014    

    If electronic gismos and credit card gadgets were taken away now, people (especially the younger generation) would not be able to function. Come to think of it, those of us 29+ would be set back a bit as well.

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