The inexorable march of time continues onward, and with it new technology at every pass. Just a few short years ago, the PC tablet was unheard of. Caught somewhere between the smartphone and the laptop, it was hard to see what practical applications a PC tablet could have. Fast forward to the present – we’re in the throes of a PC tablet frenzy, and more uses are being discovered every day. Now the restaurant industry is getting in on the action, and niche PC tablet manufacturers are at the ready with new ideas.
One such manufacturer is E La Carte. Yesterday the upstart company announced $1 million in funding raised for Presto, a PC tablet that’s a menu and a maître‘d all at once. According to E La Carte, a Presto PC tablet would ideally sit ready on each restaurant dining table, “so that guests can order, play games and pay from their seats without having to wait.” The Presto would not only feature a full menu with descriptions and direct ordering at the touch of a button, but would also come loaded with games and a calculator. With this new funding, E La Carte will be deploying its PC tablet systems at twenty locations along the West Coast.
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Meanwhile, similar manufacturer TableTop Media is making deals with major restaurant players like California Pizza Kitchen and Chili’s, and could have 250 locations carrying their PC tablets within the next few months. It all seems like small numbers now, but they’re sure to grow exponentially as the PC tablet concept continues to catch on across the county.
The PC tablet could change the face of the restaurant industry, and some restaurants (rumors include Applebee’s) can’t wait to get on board. Why? According to Mashable, it could have a lot to do with sales. “People buy more food when they can do so instantly, without waiting for service,” reads the report. “In the six restaurants that ran a pilot scheme, according to CEO Rajat Suri, customers at E la Carte tables spent 10% to 12% more than those at other tables.”
That kind of increase is enough to make any restaurateur salivate. But can a speedy touch screen give customers everything they need? Could the PC tablet be the missing technological link between the classic restaurant and the lost concept of the automat? As PC tablets continue to pick up steam, we’re sure to find the answers as the year progresses.