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Is it ready to meet the demands of the restaurant industry?



The New iPad

The new iPad’s “retina” display contains over a million more pixels than a 1080p HDTV

Apple Makes Magic Again March 7, 2012 article by Lauren Indvik March 19, 2012 & April 24, 2012 articles by Todd Wasserman Since debuting the tablet device in early 2010, Apple has sold 67 million iPads. It took Apple three years to sell that many iPhones and 24 years to sell as many Macs. The new iPad, which released on March 16, sold 3 million units in its first weekend. “The strongest iPad launch yet,” Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of wordwide marketing, said in a press release. “Customers are loving the incredible new features of iPad, including the stunning Retina display, and we can’t wait to get it into the hands of even more customers around the world.” Apple didn’t outline opening weekend sales for its previous iPad releases. However, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster estimated that Apple sold 400,000 to 500,000 iPad 2s the first weekend they went on sale in March 2011. However, Munster said that Apple sold out of iPad 2s and would have sold more if there had been more on hand. In 2010, Apple claimed that it sold 300,000 iPads on the first day they went on sale. Munster estimates that the company sold 600,000 to 700,000 iPads that weekend. Unlike past iPad releases, the new iPad was available in 12 countries at launch. Apple expanded the launch to 24 additional countries on March 23. Pricing for the device is identical to the iPad 2. Wi-Fi-only tablets cost $499, $599, and $699 for the 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB versions, respectively. iPads with 4G LTE connectivity are priced at $629, $729, and $829 for the 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB editions. The new iPad’s key feature is its 9.7-inch, 2048 x 1536-pixel “retina” display powered by an A5X quad-core graphics chip. The display has

a higher resolution than your standard, 1080p HDTV, and 44% greater saturation than the iPad 2. [It has] text sharper than a newspaper. Photos will look incredible. Fonts look amazing,” Schiller boasted. “[It has] the best mobile display that has ever shipped.” The tablet also comes with significant camera improvements. An upgraded iSight camera has a resolution of 5 megapixels with backside illumination. A new “hybrid IR filter” allows for more advanced optics, Schiller said, along with autofocus, white balance and face detection capabilities. iPad 3 owners will also now be able to record HD (1080p) video with a built-in stabilizer and temporal noise reduction. Other key highlights: • It’s called “The New iPad.” Not the iPad 3. • Can achieve download speeds of up to 72Mbps using AT&T’s or Verizon’s 4G LTE network and 21Mbps with HSPA+. • Can function as a personal hotspot if the carrier supports that feature. • Is 9.4mm wide and weighs 1.44 lbs (slightly heavier than iPad 2). • The battery lasts nine hours running on 4G LTE and 10 hours running on Wi-Fi. • Comes in black and white. • Supports voice dictation for English, French, German and Japanese. In an unusual move, the company also announced that it will continue production of the iPad 2. Pricing for the device starts at $399 with Wi-Fionly connectivity. For a full list of differences between the new iPad and iPad 2, see Apple’s website.

How to Use iPads with Your Restaurant’s POS Wondering how the iPad might work for your restaurant? You’re in luck! There are a growing number of companies specializing in tablet POS for the foodservice industry. And this is only a partial list. Judging by the success of Apple’s iPad, tablets are here to stay! They might be a great fit for your restaurant!

The iPads are Game Changers for 2012 Jan. 23, 2012 Article by Lisa Jennings

Tablet technology puts patrons in charge of the eating-out experience When news hit early last year that the new chain concept Stacked: Food Well Built allowed guests to design, order and pay for their meals with tabletop iPads, industry pundits proclaimed the beginning of the end for the old-fashioned printed menu.

Guests, however, can swap the brioche for a pretzel bun, drop the onion strings and roasted-shallot mayo, and add a fried egg, jalapeños and Sriracha mayo. The price changes, based on ingredients, to a total of $9.82.

It’s just a matter of time before all restaurant menus go digital, some said. Soon, the concept of human table service, as we know it, will forever change, said others. Meanwhile, still others wondered if the move would go down in history as yet another techno-gimmick.

Motenko said the challenge was not educating guests about how to use the technology, but learning how to deal with a menu that could be so elaborately customized. For instance, the kitchen staff might receive as many as 60 burger orders at one time, each with very specific ingredient requests.

But Stacked isn’t the only chain to use iPads. As tablet technology becomes more affordable, their use in restaurants is rapidly becoming more prevalent — and for a variety of reasons.

Since the first unit opened in Torrance, Calif., last year, Stacked has tweaked its kitchen display system to improve the operational flow, said Motenko.

Stacked’s founders — who also built the BJ’s Restaurant chain — say the game-changing aspect of iPad service is not, in fact, the technology itself, but simply the appeal of what it allows guests to do: customize.

Initially, use of the iPads was also projected to improve labor efficiencies, he said. But that aspect has yet to come to fruition — in part because Stacked is focused on creating a warm, hospitable environment with the delivery of food and drinks to the table.

In the end, Stacked’s customers have embraced the iPad system not because it’s “cool” or simple to use, said Paul Motenko, co-founder of Newport Beach, Calif.-based Stacked Restaurants LLC with partner Jerry Hennessy.

Though speed and value are key aspects of Stacked, guests tend to use the restaurants more like full-service concepts, lingering at the table, Motenko said. As a result, the chain has added more appetizers and drink options.

“It’s because people get exactly what they want,” he said.

Stacked now has three locations open in Southern California, each with projected annual sales of $3 million to $4 million, and more locations are scheduled to open later this year.

At Stacked, 95 percent of guests build their own meals or modify suggested offerings, said Motenko. Using the iPads, guests can add or omit ingredients on each burger, pizza or salad. And — unlike most restaurants that charge the same for any cheeseburger, even if you hold the cheese — guests at Stacked only pay for what they specifically order. Burgers are the most popular category, and a top-seller is the Stack ‘n’ Bleu, an Angus beef patty on a brioche bun with blue cheese, fried onion strings, Applewood-smoked bacon and a balsamic glaze with roasted-shallot mayo for $8.92.

Motenko predicts that tablet technology will soon become much more commonplace, and he’s looking forward to the day when people will talk about “the Stacked experience” and not even mention the iPads. “People walk out of Stacked and say the technology was cool, but the concept might not have been successful if it was only about the technology,” he said. “If you’re using this technology, it has to be for the benefit of the guest.”

Paul Motenko, co-founder of Stacked, said 95 percent of his customers either build their own meals or modify suggested items using the tabletop iPads.

At Buffalo Wild Wings, iPad as waiter March 10, 2012 Article - Steve Alexander Photo - Jeff Wheeler

Buffalo Wild Wings is testing the use of iPads as menus, order takers and cash registers. But will the iPad boost sales? It's no secret that dining out has been hurt by the recession. Now some restaurants are trying to turn things around by using Apple's iPad tablet computers to provide a digital dining experience. Buffalo Wild Wings, based in Golden Valley, and a few other restaurants around the country are experimenting with having customers order or pay using an iPad at their table. The hope, of course, is that the device will boost food and drink sales. "Restaurant sales have decreased since the beginning of the recession," said Aaron Allen, a restaurant consultant in Orlando, Fla. "Part of the iPad's benefit to restaurants is the novelty of it. But there haven't been studies yet of whether using iPads helps improve sales." In a 60-day test that began Feb. 29 at Buffalo Wild Wings' Oakdale restaurant, customers are offered the option of having an iPad at their table. They can use it to browse the menu, order food and drinks and pay for the meal (via a card-swiping device attached to the iPad.) Customers can also play games or browse websites.

The iPad isn't meant to replace employees, who will still be available to answer customer questions and to bring food to the table. And it won't be forced on customers; the Oakdale location has 25 iPads, costing about $500 each, for about 60 tables. Buffalo Wild Wings hopes the iPad will boost sales by giving their customers more control over when they order food or a second round of drinks, and that it will please parents by helping entertain children. One Buffalo Wild Wings customer, Sheng Hang of St. Paul, liked using the iPad to pay the bill instead of waiting for the server. "I think the iPad would be great for the busy hours of any restaurant," she said. "I would order and check out when I'm ready." And, because the iPad takes over the ordering process, servers will have more time to chat with guests and encourage them to play other restaurant-wide games, such as a trivia contest, that are believed to encourage return visits.

Buffalo Wild Wings is one of the first national restaurant chains to offer Apple iPads at tables so customers can order food, play games and pay their bills electronically if they wish. The concept is being test-marketed at their Oakdale, Minn. restaurant; if it goes well, a national roll-out will follow. Above, Chnika Blair of St. Paul played with the iPad she used to order wings for herself and Jason Williams Tuesday night, March 6, 2012 at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Oakdale, Minn.

"If this goes well, we'll ultimately roll it out everywhere over the course of a year or two," said Ben Nelsen, vice president of guest experience and innovation at Buffalo Wild Wings, which has 325 company-owned restaurants and 500 franchises. "Right now we've got to make sure this works for us financially." During an earlier test in Canada, the iPad made customers more aware that Buffalo Wild Wings offers more than just wings, which tends to help sales, Nelsen said.

Nine Chili's restaurants in the Twin Cities offer customers a tablet computer (not an iPad) on which they can browse the menu, buy movie tickets, play games or pay electronically. "The main goal was to provide an experience that not everybody else offers, including convenience and a greater amount of information," said Phil Wenckus, Wisconsin-based director of operations for ERJ Dining of Louisville, Ky., Chili's largest franchisee.

In Oakdale, the financial goal is to increase sales per customer and to generate more return visits. Early expectations are that 20 percent of guests may spend $1 to $2 more per visit because the iPad gives them more control over when they order appetizers or desserts, he said.

What sets Buffalo Wild Wings apart is the extent to which the iPad fits into its regular restaurant operations. The Oakdale restaurant was chosen for the test because it was already installing a new electronic cash register system that was more iPad-compatible, Nelsen said. In addition, the test was delayed several months so the iPad provider, Idaho-based HubWorks Interactive, could ensure that the card-swiping devices complied with security standards.

The device should also streamline restaurant operations. Because guests can place an order via the iPad instead of having a waiter write it down, it's expected that fewer ordering mistakes will be made, saving money, Nelsen said.

"Restaurants are in the early adopter phase of guest computers," Allen said. "And Buffalo Wild Wings knows there's an opportunity in being early."

Buffalo Wild Wings also is considering selling product placement advertising. "When a customer types in draft beer, he or she can see pictures of the first four items," Nelsen said. "We might sell advertising to those vendors and distributors who want their products to show up first on the menu. But we haven't gone down that road yet." Several smaller restaurants across the country also are using iPads as a way to present more detail about wine choices or to offer more pictures of food, said Jack Serfass, CEO of Uptown Network, a Naples, Fla., software firm that programs iPads for restaurants. "Electronic menus have compelling benefits, such as giving guests more information so they have confidence in what they're ordering," Serfass said. "I believe paper menus will completely go away over time."

Square App Turns Your iPad into a Cash Register March 5, 2012

Article by Todd Wasserman

Square, the mobile payment company, has introduced an iPad app that turns the tablet into a cash register. The Square Register app plus Square’s quarter-sized reader lets you process payments via cash, credit card and even by customer name. The app also lets you add items easily and create a favorites page for popular products. Other perks include detailed real-time analytics, which you can access via the web.

The company has been looking to broaden beyond that base. One possible way is via New York taxis: This month, the company is pitching a proposal that would replaces Taxi TVs in 50 cabs with an embedded iPad or other tablet PC. Not that growth is necessarily a problem. Square, which gets a 2.75% cut of every transaction using its reader, is processing $4 billion a year in payments, Dorsey tweeted Monday morning.

Square, which was founded by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, has had an iOS and Android app in the market for processing credit cards, but the new app positions the company more as an all-in-one solution for small businesses. Launched publicly in 2010, Square claimed its 1 millionth vendor in December. While the company doesn’t outline what types of businesses are using it most, anecdotally, it seems to have carved a niche among formerly low-tech trades such as food trucks, farmer’s markets, dog walkers and Christmas tree vendors, as well as at PTA fundraisers. Such businesses have taken to the iPad. A survey released Monday by The Business Journals found that 34% of small to medium-sized businesses use the device, up from 9% in 2010. (Square isn’t planning an app for Android-based tablets.)

To see Square’s elegant app in action, check out the demo video at

iPads increasingly pop up on restaurant menus for ordering September 20, 2011 Article by Jefferson Graham

TORRANCE, Calif. – Jamie Hill went to a new restaurant the other day that required her to order food not from a waiter but by swiping her fingers on an iPad. "It was amazing," she says of her visit to Stacked, a create-your-own burger and pizza restaurant here that opened last May. "My daughter brought me here and showed me how to do it. You get to build your food. It was fun." Stacked, which has two locations in California and is set to open a third in October, is one of many eateries now using technology — specifically iPads or other tablet computers — to serve customers. Steakhouses in San Francisco, Atlanta and Chicago use tablets to let customers make wine and steak selections. At 12 locations in Boston, Au Bon Pain lets customers choose ingredients for their sandwiches using an iPad. It doesn't make the ordering process more accurate, says Ed Frechette, vice president of marketing for Au Bon Pain. But "it's tech, so it's fun." The rise of tablets couldn't come at a more opportune time for the $604 billion restaurant industry. Traffic has been flat since 2007, largely as a result of the sluggish economy and belt-tightening by consumers, says Bonnie Riggs, a restaurant analyst at NPD Group. Yearly visits to restaurants are flat at about 60 million, Riggs says. Meanwhile tablets, dominated by the iPad, are one of the best-selling consumer items. An estimated 208 million of the devices will be sold by 2014, up from about 54 million in 2011, researcher Gartner projects. Umami Burger, a Los Angeles-based chain, uses a Presto tablet leased from E La Carte, which supplies the devices to restaurants. The company recently received $4 million in funding from Lightbank, a venture fund run by Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, the co-founders of Groupon. "You can look and see everything you want, instead of written descriptions," Umami customer Terri Covert said at lunch hour recently. "I like the visuals. You know what you're going to get." E La Carte founder Rajat Suri says he has 100 restaurants signed up for Presto, and another 150 on a waiting list. Presto is powered by an 18-hour battery and, because the tablet is proprietary, "It won't get stolen," Suri said. But Stacked co-founder Paul Motenko says theft has not been an issue. "We have not lost a single iPad; we have not broken a single iPad; and not a single one has stopped working." For the first location in Torrance, he bought 60 iPads for the tables, a $30,000 investment for a restaurant that cost him $1 million to set

Customers check out the iPad menu at Stacked in Torrance, Calif.

up. His software system lets customers order from their table, send the meal ticket directly to the kitchen — and even pay via the iPad. Servers bring the food and beverages. "The advantage to the guest is the speed of service," he says. "The communication between the guest and kitchen is immediate, which is something that's unheard of in the restaurant business." More yummy info, images on tablets Restaurants are using tablets in different ways. At Bones in Atlanta, it's to show off its wines. At the Lark Creek Steak restaurant in San Francisco, it's all about touting its steaks. "The advantage for us is we can include a lot more information," Lark Senior Vice President Quinn McKenna says. "Instead of just saying '14-ounce steak,' on the menu, we can show pictures of it and say where the beef comes from. One of the common challenges in a steakhouse is that your medium rare might be different from ours. But if I show you a picture, everyone agrees." McKenna hopes Lark's testing will result in diners spending more. Eventually, he'd like to add Amazon-like features that learn about the customer. For example, "If you ordered this steak, you might like this particular wine," he suggests. At Stacked, customers build milkshakes from scratch (add Oreos, peanut butter cups, strawberries) and get rather exotic with other staples, like a macaroni and cheese pizza or burgers stacked with lettuce, pickles and potato chips. But Riggs says paper menus aren't going away anytime soon. "Older consumers won't want to bother with the iPad," she says. And for restaurant owners, "paper menus are way less expensive."

Want to see the iPad POS in action? Check out the USA Today video at

6 Creative iPad Uses for Small Retailers August 9, 2011

Article by Lauren Drell

We all know iPads make great presentation devices and are excellent for business travel and chock-full of useful apps. Now, let's focus on retail businesses—shops, salons and restaurants that use iPads to better service customers. (If you start using an iPad at your business, just be sure to sanitize it frequently—fingers can carry a lot of germs.)

1. iPad as a POS ”We take all of our orders with an iPod, and the staff runs credit cards with iPads," says Jordan Langer of 620 Jones, a San Francisco bar. His team was also "very heavily entwined in developing the app" that drives the POS system. "It was a project that POSLab started doing, and then we jumped on board as their first main client. We started going after it with them because we know how a real POS should work," says Langer. Jones servers go to tables with an iPod to take orders, and then the iPad drives the merchant processing. The iPads are always in the hands of staff and never handed to patrons. "People love it...they absolutely love it," Langer says. "Inventory is a lot easier to manage, the development is a lot easier, the interaction with the customers is a lot easier." Lesson: An iPad can help you organize and stay on top of inventory, in addition to serving as an excellent POS system.

2. iPad as a customer database "The iPad is awesome," says Flannery Foster, co-owner of Brooklyn's goodyoga studio. The studio is also a bed and breakfast and serves as home to Flannery and her partner, "so we want it to seem less like a business and more like a community center or a home."

3. iPad as entertainment TriBeCa nail salon Tenoverten offers iPads at every nail station. Co-owner Nadine Ferber says customers mostly use the iPads for Web browsing, so they don’t have to offer any fancy apps. And yes, they still offer the typical glossy magazines for those customers who’ve been staring at a screen all day at work and want something more low-tech. “Customers love the iPads—some people have never used one before and are just thrilled to be able to without making a commitment to buying one,” says Ferber. She says more than half of the people who come in for manicures or pedicures use the iPad during their service, either to look something or check an e-mail. “It's a great tool for them to multi-task while taking a little time out of the day for themselves,” she says. “And it’s one of the most differentiating things about our business as we are the only nail salon in the world that has an iPad at every manicure station.” Lesson: An iPad is a great investment as a differentiator that could keep customers coming back.

4. iPad as a fan base-builder Butter Lane in New York's East Village was an early adopter of the iPad craze, affixing one to the wall to encourage people to "like" and follow the shop on Facebook and Twitter. Now the cupcakery has taken to rewarding customers who interact with the iPad, offering a free frosting shot to those who do. Frosting shots sell for $1, so it's a small price to pay, and co-owner Maria Baugh says the shop gets a lot of engagement with the device, and "it's definitely increased our number of 'likes' and follows—we give away a lot of icing shots!" Baugh says the device also helps them get customers in other ways. "We find that people use it to get more information about our [baking] classes and sometimes register for them," she says. However, be warned that if you have an iPad, some customers might use it to check their own social media profiles, and you should also make an effort to lock it down. "The first one we put up just after iPads came out was stolen within the first month! We now have heavy duty industrial brackets holding it in place—it would take serious power tools to get this one off the wall," says Baugh. Lesson: Use an iPad on-site to increase your Facebook and Twitter followings—you can offer a small reward as a thank you.

First order of business? Ditching the front counter and bar code scanner you see at a lot of yoga studios and gyms. "When people walk in the door, we hand them the iPad, and they sit on the couch— it’s a lot more casual, and we can bring them tea or water," Foster says. Instead of standing awkwardly at the counter and filling out waivers and liability forms on a clipboard, the iPad makes people feel comfortable and also makes data entry a breeze for goodyoga. The studio uses a Google form, so the staff doesn't have to worry about decoding a patron's chicken scratch and the team saves times since the client info goes into the database automatically. "People have fun with it, and we have a lot of people who've never used an iPad before," says Foster. "Sometimes they're apprehensive, but most people have a lot of fun using it, and they love being able to sign with their finger when they pay with Square." Lesson: Impress new customers and get them in your system quickly (for e-mail blasts, etc.) with a sleek iPad setup.

Butter Lane in New York’s East Village uses a wall-mounted iPad to offer customers an immediate incentive to LIKE them on Facebook.

5. iPad as a waiter

6. iPad as an expeditor

"The iPads allow guests to control the flow and timing of their experience," says Paul Motenko, co-founder of Stacked. "Guests can order a drink and appetizer and then entrées and desserts, when they are ready—or their whole meal at once to move things along faster." Stacked also offers customers the option to pay directly via the iPad, so patrons don't have to wait for the server to bring the bill, and one's credit card information is encrypted at the table, so the system is secure.

Healthy fast-food concept 4Food opened last year in New York City, chock full of digital integrations, like a 15' Twitter feed on one of the walls. The restaurant has six iPads available for customers to order from and browse the Web. During peak hours, 4Food "hawkers" roam the restaurant with iPads to take orders from customers so they don't have to wait in line. The iPad integration is working well for the concept, and 4Food brand strategist Ashley Tyson says the restaurant hopes to develop an iPad app soon so that customers can order easily and access information about the food and offerings.

Of course, sometimes talking to a person is easier than dealing with a machine, so there are concierges on the floor to help guests when they need it. And all guests are given paper menus so that everyone can read through the menu at their own pace. When they are ready, they order from the custom-developed iPad app and tap "send" and then the order is routed directly to the kitchen.

Lesson: Integrating digital tools into your business can help it run more efficiently, which could help your bottom line.

Motenko says customers love using the iPad. Since Stacked offers burgers, pizzas, salads and sausages with a myriad of available toppings, guests build their meal from the plate up. "The technology just makes it easier to customize what you want, how you want it and how quickly you want it," he says. Since the iPad is intuitive, Motenko says guests of all ages have found the app to be easy to use and empowering to choose your own ingredients. Lesson: The iPad is a great, non-invasive tool that's easy to use. You can save money on staff and not have to worry about pacing a meal, since the guests order at their own convenience.

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Digital Identity Spring 2012 - iPad  

Digital Identity Spring 2012 - iPad, created by Dean White, Sysco Eastern Maryland

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