Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lack of Service

Dear Rajat Suri,

I read about your company E la Carte, which is an electronic menu board.  On paper, the concept sounds like it might be useful:  Tablet computers that serve as menus (mainly in sit-down restaurants).  Customers can place their order and pay directly through the tablet.  No more waiting for the server to take your order (especially if the server takes your order incorrectly) or bring your check.  And if you want to add on dessert, it's really easy to do that partway through your meal.  Plus, the tablet has games on it, so you can play while you wait.

Supposedly the tablet will help cut down on service errors and increase check amount--thereby increasing tip amounts.

Maybe I don't frequent the restaurants you're targeting with this product, but if I'm placing the order myself, and I'm generating the receipt, the server just becomes a glorified food runner.  I'm likely to start tipping 10% then, not the 15-20%/leaning toward 20%, that I do now.  Plus, I like interacting with my server.  If I have questions, the server can answer them.  The server can tell me what's good and what's not.  It's the server who makes the restaurant experience what it is.

Nonetheless, I can't fault an entrepreneur for trying, so best of luck to you.  One thing though--could you keep a client list on your website so I know which places to avoid?  Thanks!

Your pal,

1 comment:

  1. I went to a restaurant that used a concept like this but it was for a survey after the meal to see what we thought. Consistently - of the places that used a digital device....they were all dirty and gross from previous customers who had used them. If a restaurant is going to use a touch device they are going to be gross - think of all the hands that touch them & during rushes at the restaurant - there will not be a lot of time to clean them in between users.