Customer Service, Is There An App For That?


Who needs a paper menu?

Image by Lordcolus

 Most of us enjoy going out to dinner and indulging on being waited on. Of course, there are always the fast-food venues that get us out of our seats but most of our service comes from waiting staff.  So with our current tech-revolution, how is our table service changing?

Touch Screen Table Tops
Take a look at London’s quirky Inamo restaurant and you’ll realise that the future of dining could be a far cry from the service you and I receive today. Interactive, touch-screen table tops are used to scroll through available food options, projected plates show you what food looks like and you are saved from having to ask for the bill as a card machine is built into the table as standard. Sound savvy, swift and full of novelty? The food critiques have praised the actually quality of the food too which is a plus.

So how likely is it that other restaurants will take on tech in a new way? Well, some restaurants in the US and Australia have begun using iPads instead of menus. MenuPad gives eateries custom menu apps to frame their foods and for customers to interact with dishes.  You could even pay with a card swipe, allowing you to bypass the waiter.

Real Novelty
On an even more farfetched and elaborate spin, the German restaurant ‘S Baggers, has eradicated table service almost entirely. Instead of waving down a waiter, you order your food via touch screen menus and have your food delivered by a series of pulleys and roller-coasters. Apparently the food arrives quickly and without harm.

In Japan, Burger King has installed ’musical sound showers’. These plastic pods connect to music devices and allow you to kick back to enjoy your own personal tunes with your mates. Apparently this is without disturbing people on the table next to you. The main aim of installing these devices? To attract younger groups of girls. And if you were wondering, yes the menu is the same over there as it is in the UK and US.

There are some less wild ways out there too. Restaurants such a Wagamamas now allow you to order take away and book tables via their mobile app. This saves you and the staff time. This a less tech heavy and so works for a lot of their customers.

There are some reservations about new bizarre ways of serving us food, as well as the broader process of the creation of multi-channel retail systems occurring across the country. The key worry is job loss. Many waiting staff numbers can be cut down if replaced with machines and software.

Another reservation is that these systems wouldn’t be able to work in high-class restaurants. The bigger the price, the more personal a service you would expect to receive. Yes you could scroll through top wines which, after being sieved through an algorithm, will match your wine to your pallet and your plate, but there are strong arguments for asking a real human for their opinion.

How would you feel about tech being installed into your dining experience?

James Duval is an IT specialist who is addicted to his Xbox. Given the choice, he would rather spend his days tearing around the globe on his Harley seeing the greatest architecture the globe has to offer. He lives for the sound of a live band, and a well written blog for K3 Retail.

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