Big Break For Tableside Technology
Casual dining chain Chili’s is taking the leap to the next generation of customer service. The chain announced in September that it is planning to install tabletop tablet-like computer screens at most locations.
The technology is a perfect fit for the casual dining segment. The installation is a trailblazing initiative for the company and it is the first such large chain to add the technology across most of its locations.
The computer screens are made by Ziosk, LLC and will be mounted at each table in the restaurant. The chain was quick to point out that the new technology will not be replacing servers but rather assisting them in taking care of patrons.
The machines give diners the options to place orders themselves with the added security of paying at the table. Waiting for the check has been a particular pain point for restaurant-goers over the years and this gives them the option to make an immediate secure transaction when they are ready. According to the chain, customers are already starting to embrace the new technology with 50% choosing to pay via the computer.
The technology is designed to offer suggestive selling at certain points of the dining experience and that has resulted in increased sales of desserts and coffee. There is also the possibility of an additional revenue stream where manufacturers can show advertisements of their products on the screens to entice purchases. The company said the installments are slated to be completed in early 2014.
Adoption of the technology in the restaurant industry is in its infancy stages. Approximately 10% of restaurants in Hospitality Technology’s “2013 Customer Engagement Technology Study” offer ordering via some type of tablet device. While the technology is far from mainstream, its adoption is picking up pace. By 2015, the number of restaurants offering it will be 24%.