Touch screen menus coming to the U.S.

By Megan Bernatavitz
October 30, 2008

Going to a restaurant could soon be more technologically advanced than ever imagined. Not only are faster stoves and more efficient cooking utensils being brought into the restaurants, but now touch screen menus are the new development that is sweeping through Europe.

In the United States, the only touch screen menus most of the people in the Philadelphia area have heard of are those similar to the ones used at Wawa. These screens were created for a fast and easy way to get food without much of a hassle.

Touch screen menus started in London. This technology allows the customer to order drinks first. The order then pops up directly at the bar. Then the customers may order appetizers and entree orders, which are sent back to the kitchen. While the people are waiting for their food, there are games to play on the screen and different interactive things to do.

The new trend of having touch screen menus at nice sit-down restaurants in different parts of Europe is very popular with almost everyone. This means that the United States is not far from having this sensation from London come to the restaurants most know and love.

As of now, one restaurant in the United States is definitely mixing things up and trying to keep up with what is happening across the ocean. An upscale wine bar in New York City, called the Adour Restaurant has been known for its interactive touch screen menu.

One wonder is if the trend will be as popular in the United States as it is in Europe. The touch screen menu has cut the wait staff almost in half since being started. This also gets rid of interaction between the customer and the waiter. With the way the economy is right now, waiters cannot afford to lose the jobs that they have. Once Americans get back on their feet, the touch screen menu could change the way we live in many different ways.

The loss of interaction could lead to less of a tip because the customer did not get to see the personality and efficiency of the waiter.

Jackie McKeon, junior elementary education major, said, “Being a waitress, I think that this idea is really awesome. It makes it less stressful on the server and you don’t have to deal with rude customers. The only down side would be getting less of a tip, but less stress is definitely worth it.”

One glitch still being worked out in European restaurants with the touch screen menu is power outages.

If the power goes out, the menus will no longer work, which means that waiters will be needed and with the staff cut in half; it could get chaotic.

The only thing that most people care about is the quality of the food that is being brought out. Marina Isaac, senior exercise science and health promotions major, said, “Having touch screen menus is an awesome idea. As long as my food tastes good and is brought out at a reasonable time, I am definitely fine with the idea of the menu.”

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Megan Bernatavitz

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