stories filed under: "restaurants"
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Aug 13th 2008 8:15am
We thought that the whole debate over whether or not free WiFi helped businesses like restaurants had been settled years ago when restaurants like Panera shared some data on how much more business it drove. However, it seems some are still resisting this, so we get yet another series of articles asking whether or not free WiFi is good for business. There are definitely more businesses offering it these days, so that should be something of an answer itself. But it's surprising to see someone in the article include that old line about how restaurants are worried about people clogging up its tables. We've seen reports in the past showing that free WiFi actually tends to bring in people during off-peak times. As for the peak times? While there may be some freeloaders, it's not all that pleasant for them to hang out in a crowded restaurant or cafe either.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Mar 5th 2008 8:17pm
from the may-depend-on-your-mood dept
I recently flew on Richard Branson's new Virgin America airline, and one of the nice features was the fact that you could order food or drinks via the touchscreen on the back of the seat in front of you. It made the process a lot more efficient. Apparently, a number of restaurants are starting to feel the same way, as these electronic menus are becoming more popular in restaurants. What's interesting, though, is that people seem to have widely divergent views on the things. Some people love them, and find them more useful, while others think they're an annoying gimmick. The restaurants have found that people tend to spend more, and restaurants probably save even more money on needing a smaller wait staff. The article notes some other innovations that are being tested, including the idea of allowing people to order in a restaurant using their own laptops or mobile phones connected to the restaurant WiFi network (which may run into some problems concerning an Apple patent on the concept). Of course, those restaurants still need waiters to deliver the food -- unless they follow the path of the restaurant we described last summer that had built a somewhat complex set of metal rails.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Aug 28th 2007 9:44pm
from the do-you-tip-the-rails? dept
We've definitely seen restaurants embrace technology and automation to bizarre ends before, but apparently a new restaurant in Germany is taking that to extremes. The Nuremberg-based 's Blaggers has completely replaced waiters with an automated system (via The Raw Feed). While there have certainly been fast food restaurants that have let patrons order themselves, in this case, it's a sit-down restaurant. Diners order their meals via a touchscreen, which is relayed to the kitchen which (and this turns out to be important) is upstairs from the dining area. Then, using a special hotpot that connects to a bunch of spiral steel rails your food is delivered by gravity power. The touchscreen actually keeps you up to date, as well, telling you how long it'll be until your food is delivered. The terminals also accept payment. Of course, the article doesn't explain how the cleanup process works... Perhaps diners can send the finished dishes down to a dishwasher in the basement? The guy behind it is hoping to license the offering to other restaurants (including McDonald's), but from the early reviews of his own restaurant, it sounds like people have been coming for the novelty, but some are a bit turned off by the mechanical nature of everything (and one person even compared it to the machinery used to feed pigs on large farms).