CuriousDish: New Electronic Tablet for Ordering in Restaurants

GigaOm is an influential West Coast technology blog site and recently featured an article about a tablet diners can use for ordering, paying, and playing games. The tablet, from the company E la Carte,  is heavy-duty, restaurant-friendly pad that enables you to see the menu with images, order, automatically split checks, and pay.  One of the comments refers to inamo, a London-based restaurant that is completely designed and built around an interactive table.

What do you think, Dallas?  Are we ready for something like this?  And if there are no servers, it begs the question: do you tip the IT guy?


  • Randy

    There’s also the Ziosk, which is made by a local company. Several restaurants in the burbs have used them and liked them.

    IIRC, one of their VP’s wives played in D’s Words With Friends tourney last year.

  • Amy S

    You still need servers with this system it doesn’t automatically deliver the food. And people will still have questions about the food, and have to help some (cough*mother-in-laws*cough) who are technically not able to punch a button on anything that remotely looks like a computer screen.

    It begs the question though, does this offer the guest a better experience for the added cost per unit. You would have to purchase enough units so people don’t wait to place their order (imagine telling someone they have to wait for a menu to become available – fail). You would still have to hire servers, perhaps a few less, but at $2.13 an hour how much savings offset would this create? Very little I imagine.

    I think this is trying to compete with full service, but so is counter style service where the food is delivered to the table once done. And that style doesn’t require a big investment in technology.

  • Sparky

    I think this may work better for wines, such as what Charlie Palmer’s has (quick Google search tells me the tablet system they have is “eWinebook”) — it’s still no real substitute for a good sommelier, but it’s a fun little gadget and an easier way to browse a wine list than turning page after page.

  • Chuck

    California Pizza Kitchen in Preston Center has these on tabletops right now, but you still order through a waitperson. The appeal to me is you can pay with a credit card right at the table. As for tipping, there is a simple scrollable percentage wheel to add gratuity.

  • Chuck

    Correction: CPK uses the Ziosk. Pardon my mistake.

  • Ben

    Distracting – Bright lights and colors that scream for your attention.

    A friend and I encountered one during a dinner and covered it with a menu so we could focus on the important things in life, like conversing.

  • slade

    well said Amy. but i do like the option of being able to pay when i’m ready.