Screens, Screens, Now There are Screens at the Table

Screens, screens, never have their been so many screens all around us. Last week a story in the WSJ explained a new use for screens, to order food and keep kids entertained while their parents wait for food at restaurants.

Now at some Chili’s Grill and Bar and Applebee’s locations you can order your food on a screen about the size of a Kindle. Patrons view color photos of what’s on the menu and poke a touch screen to order. Then for a fee, you can call up video games for the little ones. Though it seems a bit 1984, the truth is, most patrons in restaurants nowadays are already staring at their own personal screens, often needing to be reminded to look up at the server to actually interact.

The best part of this is that you can pay your tab without having to wait for the server to notice you want it. It’s that delay that makes most people, especially ones with kids, annoyed.

A variation on this order-on-screen trend is TGI Friday’s, where an app can be downloaded with the full menu and the ability to pay the check from one’s smartphone. But diners still have to order the food from the waitstaff. The best part of using phones to pay? Suggested tips of 20% mean that most people tip more than they would without it.