The Electronic Menu
An electronic menu makes the most of technology and digital menu software available, making it simpler for customers to order and restaurant staff to accurately execute the orders. They allow the restaurant customers to be entertained while waiting for their food, and the business to change their menu or menu design at every whim. However, there are clear drawbacks to using an electronic menu, and the investment is unlikely to increase restaurant sales, making it critical for businesses to question whether they are a viable option. A menu expert or restaurant consultants may be able to figure out if tablet computer menus are right for a business, considering all the pros and cons that are involved.
During busy hours, service in bars and restaurants can get slow due to the specific demands and high volume of orders that restaurant customers have. Electronic menus eliminate the customer wait time for ordering. Restaurant customers can order whenever they want and type in their specific requests. The order will almost immediately reach the kitchen or bar, and the extra time it would have taken a waiter to get it there, is saved. This solution is ideal for rushed restaurant customers. Another benefit of the electronic menu is the ability for a business to constantly change menu design and content, for free, at every whim. While regular menus must be reprinted for each addition, digital menu software makes it easy to add, remove, and change menu items. Restaurant customers will be entertained by the games and programs available on an electronic menu, while waiting for their order to arrive. Awkwardness of blind dates will be alleviated, children will be occupied, and groups of friends will team up, to play games such as connect four, jeopardy, and angry birds, which can be added to an electronic menu in addition to the digital menu software. Adding a tab to each dish with nutritional information can cater to health-conscious customers. Allowing customers to create accounts, and save their past orders, can make customers feel like going out is more personalized. A business can even offer incentives, such as discounts, or a free appetizer, when a customer logs on for the 10th time.
Sometimes having a good, old-fashioned menu is the best solution. Some customers will be put off by a high-tech electronic menu. Parents may not be thrilled to have their children playing with technology during an outing. Customers changing an order will have to walk up to a staff member, as the digital menu software available lack a simple solution for changing an order. Waiters will probably receive less tips (since they will technically be doing less work), though placing a tipping tray on the table with the check may solve this issue. Though the printing costs of regular menus will be saved, damage and repairs to an electronic menu will have to be accounted for in the budget and finances of the business.
Each business must weigh the positive and negative aspects of an electronic menu, before deciding to adopt the technology. Restaurant consultants or a menu expert may be able to help, but the ultimate decision must be made by the business owner and/or manager, based on financial and social ambience factors. There is no doubt that the technology is impressive, but at the same time there is no guarantee that it will be appreciated by restaurant customers and staff.