MenuPad, an interactive, state-of-the-art menu app, is revolutionizing the restaurant industry by better engaging customers, cutting costs, and introducing groundbreaking technology.
Apple Inc. highlights MenuPad and Carmel Café & Wine Bar in a newly released iPad in Business Profile. It recognizes innovative use of iPads to benefit hospitality-related industries. It is the only restaurant industry use to be featured. It is now available on iTunes.
Restaurant industry veteran Chris Sullivan, a founding partner of Carmel Café & Wine Bar, co-founder of Outback Steakhouse, and former chairman and CEO of OSI Restaurant Partners Inc., characterizes MenuPad as a new way to work in operations.
MenuPad provides substantial benefits for restaurant employees. Servers are able to manage more tables, provide better customer service, and make more money. Employers benefit from lower employee turnover.
“It’s a win-win for guests, employees and restaurants,” Sullivan says. “MenuPad provides customers with complete control over the dining experience, allowing them to order exactly what they want, the way they want it prepared and brought to the table when they want it. It cuts operator costs, increases customer satisfaction, and improves restaurant operations.”
MenuPad was developed and launched by NetStart, an Australian e-commerce innovator. The founders of Carmel Café, headquartered in Tampa, Florida, are the restaurant visionaries who recognized the possibilities presented by providing guests with this vastly improved alternative to standard menus.
MenuPad was first introduced in a real restaurant environment in 2010. MenuPad provides customers with engaging, colorful food and beverage photos, detailed descriptions, and information that allows users to create customized food and wine pairings. Updates can be made within minutes to accommodate menu changes, fluctuating commodity costs, and other factors impacting the restaurant industry.
MenuPad tracks each item ordered and keeps a running balance of the bill. Groups can easily split the check and pay by credit card. The system is compliant with security industry standards and designed to operate on existing POS (point-of-sales) systems.
“We think MenuPad is a game-changer and the future of the restaurant industry,” Sullivan adds. “In today’s tough economic climate, operators need a new tool kit to survive and succeed. This technology has the potential to contribute to the success of any restaurant operator. It’s interactive, empowering and engaging.”
With iPads located tableside throughout the restaurant, Carmel Café guests simply scroll through MenuPad to place food and beverage orders, make selections based on dietary requirements, as well as choose portion and serving sizes for food and wine.
“It’s been incredible to see how well guests have embraced this new technology,” says Terry Ryan, a Carmel Café founding partner. “MenuPad has impacted our ability to better serve customers while making servers more productive and the business more successful. MenuPad helped us cut staff training time, enabled servers to be more efficient and facilitated faster table-turns—all while providing enhanced customer service.”
MenuPad also offers cost savings for operators. Hand-held hardware devices can range from $1,000 to $1,500, about three times the cost of an iPad.
“What is really exciting about MenuPad is the flexibility it offers,” says Chris Zumwalt, MenuPad U.S. president. “MenuPad can be adapted for other industries that want to improve the bottom line while delivering a higher level of hospitality.”
The MenuPad app facilitates easy customization for a variety of businesses, including hotels. The technology adds value across all restaurant and foodservice categories, including fast casual, family style, fine dining, airport operations, and kiosks.
“Carmel Café successfully integrated the technology into its operations, customizing the interface specifically for its restaurants,” Zumwalt adds. “We can customize the system to an operator’s specific business needs. By adopting MenuPad into the Carmel Café culture from the beginning, the restaurant’s founders also provided valuable feedback that helped to further refine the software.”
In addition to MenuPad, Carmel Café also integrates another app, FushionPrep, which facilitates greater efficiency in the kitchen and back-of-the-house. FushionPrep enables the kitchen staff to maintain quality and consistency, from prepping and building a dish to how the finished product looks before it is served.
“It has been extremely rewarding to have such a valuable tool for the restaurant industry,” Sullivan elaborates. “We know this will become an even more integral part of our business as it continues to evolve and expand its capabilities. We’ve just scratched the surface on how MenuPad can add value to the restaurant industry.”