Spending Spikes with Digital Menus, As Do Costs

 
Carmel Café and Wine Bar.
Carmel Café and Wine Bar in Tampa, Florida, uses iPads with a MenuPad app at each of its four locations.

A three-year-old establishment in St. Louis, The Post Sports Bar & Grill fashions itself a forward-thinking, cutting-edge enterprise unafraid of technology’s rapid pulse.

With that spirit in tow, The Post owner Adrian Glass brought in the upstart eTab device two years ago. Integrated with the restaurant’s point-of-sale (POS) system, the Android-based tabletop device is a digital menu that enables guests to order, pay at the table, and also page wait staff, who carry a wireless device that monitors diners’ needs and decisions.

“People aren’t afraid of technology and they want to use it,” Glass says. “By bringing this in so early, we thought we’d be ahead of others.”

Spurred by the growing number of smartphone-toting, tech-savvy, wired guests clamoring for an interactive experience that delivers control and customization, Glass is part of a growing number of operators serving technology on the table.

In fact, according to a recent study from Technomic, “Market Intelligence Report: Consumer-Facing Technology,” 51 percent of respondents said it is important for restaurants to integrate technology into their ordering capabilities.

According to the report, consumers are most receptive to placing digital orders in casual-dining restaurants and, as a general rule, younger consumers—those under 45—are more inclined to connect with restaurants via a mobile app or order using a touchscreen menu. And even though 71 percent of consumers have yet to use a tableside touchscreen device to self-order and pay, Technomic reports these technologies remain the top tools that customers can envision using.

Carmel Café and Wine Bar, a four-unit, Tampa, Florida–based concept, began using the interactive MenuPad app two years ago. Each restaurant now has 70 iPads displaying product photos, descriptions, and prices, alongside complementary information such as wine pairings.

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