Olive Garden joins the ranks
A new trend in dining out is starting to catch on: tablets in addition to servers. Olive Garden has started installing Ziosk computer tablets at all of its U.S. locations so customers can order and pay by touch screen.
Ziosk offers a tablet at every table, not only to order and pay, but for convenience. Ziosk pushes your loyalty club, enabling customers to sign up right at the table. This also enables your customers to redeem your rewards right at the table as well. Guests can also capture memorable moments at the table using the built-in camera and then upload them to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Customers can also use the built-in tip calculator to figure out what they owe. Once you’ve paid, by swiping your card through the card reader on the tablet, the LED indicator light changes color, letting the server know the check is paid and the customer can leave whenever they are ready. You can choose to print your receipt at the table or email it. After payment has been made, businesses can choose to display a short satisfaction survey, to monitor their dining experience.
Ziosk could become the standard
This could become the new trend in dining because after Olive Garden began trying Ziosk tablet in some of its restaurants last year, those locations experienced faster dining times and increased tip percentages. They will continue to roll out the devices to all their 800+ locations before the end of the year.
Dave George, President of Olive Garden, stated, “We’ve been focused on improving the dining experience at every touch point, and we’re excited to give our guests the ability to customize their visit by leveraging the technology of Ziosk’s tabletop tablets.”
Olive Garden is just the latest chain to jump on the tablet trend. Air ports began installing tablets to allow travelers the ability to have food and drink delivered right to their seats while waiting in the terminal. This is still food-related, but helpful, nonetheless. Ziosk tablets are also being used at Chili’s restaurants and are slated to begin launching at Red Robin’s nationwide.
The benefits of tablets, a trend to watch
Tablets are being used more and more to enhance the customer experience, cut down on wait times, target consumers with promotions in-store, and generally appear like the business is “on trend” with what consumers want. I have seen auto shops use them in place of the old paper number system; crafters and artisans use them so they can receive payment at shows without the need to carry a dedicated credit card reader, and some banks now use them to verify your signature.
Tablets are becoming an important part of doing business and this is definitely a trend to monitor. However, the little tiny voice in the back of my mind wonders how long it will be before someone manages to hack into the Ziosk system and get a free meal, or how this will effect people’s communication skills even further with yet another electronic device to distract them from old-school conversation skills, to high-tech games and apps. Still, the tablet thing is happening and it’s definitely a trend to watch.