Ordering Online….at a Restaurant?

Ordering takeout online isn’t necessarily a new concept.  Online ordering has actually become extremely popular and convenient.  No one asks you to “please hold” while they take another order, your order is always correct as there is no second party interaction over the phone, and effort is minimal due to the number of technological devices that allow us to place our orders online.  Now the traditional dining out experience has taken a huge leap and jumped on the digital food ordering system that many restaurants websites use. 

Digital menus used to be reserved for online use only yet now digital menus are being utilized inside actual restaurants.  For example, some Panera Bread’s now have a kiosk-type machine where one simply uses a touch screen to order.  It is quick, easy, and gets the job done just as a traditional waitress would.  There is also the less extreme approach.  I recently visited a restaurant where I was given a table and a server yet was not handed a plastic menu.  Instead, I received an iPad which had listed all of the food and drink selections.   While the iPad’s purpose was to display the menu and not manually self-order like at, say, Panera Bread, these “menus” actually had more than one function.  I was able to play games, surf the Internet, etc. all while I waited for my meal.  The purpose for iPad’s as menus?  Even as a tech-savvy young adult I really do not have an answer to that question other than entertainment or environmental factors, however, it did set my dining experience apart from others in the past.

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