When you think of a restaurant menu, what do you picture? Perhaps you envision chalkboard on the wall noting the day’s fresh catch? Or maybe a plastic covered tri-fold menu handed out upon arrival? But the world is changing. Over the years, cloud-based technology has helped greatly improve the restaurant industry. The global market for digital signage is increasing. Digital menus—from large menu boards to hand-held tablet devices—are making their way into all kinds of restaurants, with the promise of communicating to customers more effectively and subsequently improving sales. Money spent on digital signage is projected to nearly triple from 2010 to 2016. After all, the basic menu hasn’t changed much over the centuries. So with the ubiquity of a Tablet, might the menu ultimately show up on a tablet? I think it is inevitable and its benefits and gains are far more than imagination.
My recent visit to Abigail Restaurant, New York provided me with the opportunity to experience first hand, the all new digital Tablet menu system. The Application was amazing with beautiful pictures and contents about the dishes. Each item had a description and picture. What I really liked was the Dish Recommendations section and the feedback. In the meantime, while the food was being prepared, I browsed through the interactive contents available on the tab. I navigated through Facebook, checked some email, read some Technology news and reviews, stock updates etc. It was an overall wonderful experience and i was left wondering why this system hasn’t arrived in India yet.
There is a famous saying that “People eat with their eyes”. The e-Menu (Digital Menu on tablet pc) provides additional information about menu items and drinks than a traditional paper menu. With interactive pictures it gives additional information about the food item. The system includes touch-screen devices installed with a piece of software to show a restaurant menu with actual photos of the dishes. The touch-screen devices are not only used to display the list of food and beverages, but also to process the restaurant services, from ordering to payment. Tablets are said to eliminate order-taking errors from the waiters. In the kitchen, there is less confusion as everything is now written clearly. Traditional restaurant service requires waiters to interact with customers directly before processing their orders. However, a high-quality recommendation service system would actively identify customers and their favourite meals and expenditure records.
Although in India, technology has tremendously revolutionized the restaurant industry. But much of the innovation has been with point-of-sale (POS) operations. Yet other areas of a restaurant are ripe for innovation, such as the menu. I spared some time and did some research on the viability of introduction of this technology in our country and was surprised to know there are already a couple of players. One of the Key Player is Fingerdine with a market cap of $1 million. However, what I couldn’t find was the consumer’s exposure to this technology. Although fingerdine seems to be doing exceptionally well in this domain, there is a lot more to be done.
E-menu is a new technology for restaurant ordering solutions and has the power to change the restaurant systems across the country, given the right push and the right exposure. Its not so far, the day when we see a revolutionary product feature in our hand while we dine in our nearby café next time.
Photos credit: Divyanshu Chaturvedi
Author Bio: Divyanshu Chaturvedi is an entrepreneur, a traveler and a technology enthusiast, who loves to share his experiences about new technology.