Tablet computing… in a restaurant

I was just having this discussion the other day with my husband. Soon tablet style computers will be inexpensive enough that we’ll get to the tipping point, where it will become more than a novelty to see one used in a restaurant. I love the idea in theory – wine lists and menus can be updated easily, and search functionality can be integrated (show me all of the items on the menu made with cream as an ingredient). Special requests and allergies can be easily noted for the kitchen. A big boon would also be readability, since I know I’ve nearly lit some menus on fire trying to hold up a tiny candle just so I can read the darn thing in a dark restaurant. Backlit tablets can easily be read in low light, and the font size can be increased with the press of a button.

But in practice… as was mentioned in the article, the tablets will have to be pretty durable. You would also have to limit the functionality so people don’t use them like their own personal computer and sit there using it to read emails while other diners need it for ordering.

All of the downsides I can think of are pretty easily rectified. I know some places already have them, but I wonder how long it will be until it is considered common?

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