Restaurants replacing menus with tablets
Within months of the iPad's initial release, a Sydney, Australia restaurant replaced its paper menus with iPads. Global Mundo Tapas in the North Sydney Rydges Hotel rolled out a homegrown app that showed images of the meal, tasting notes on the meal, suggested appropriate wines and asked people making orders for steak how they would like the meat cooked.
The best part was that when you were ready to order, there was no need to flag a waiter. Your order was sent wirelessly to the kitchen.
The Rydges Hotel uses MenuPad software developed by NetStart, a South-Australian company that provides a wide range of e-commerce solutions. MenuPad is available for free from the App Store. For the back-end software, you have to purchase a license from NetStart.
Other vendors are coming up with dedicated restaurant tablets. eTab and E la Carte have their own custom tablets that do pretty much all the work of a waiter and then some. Customers can browse the menu, see pictures of the food, receive nutritional information for each dish and anything else the restaurant wants to offer, like potential food allergies.
Orders are then sent wirelessly to the back, where both firms have back office apps to receive orders. The wait staff only needs to worry about delivery. When you are done, eTab and Pronto have a credit card reader to pay your bill. Neither of these designs uses an iPad or any other consumer tablet, but they are using the tablet concept.