Touch Screen Device Replacing Servers?

Are computers going to keep replacing people in the workforce?  They say not but one can only speculate. Technology has replaced many workers over the last decade and this could be the next step for the hospitality industry. Anyone remember “The Jetsons”?

Article from Nation’s Restaurant News

California Pizza Kitchen Inc. is testing a touch-screen device in at least three stores that lets guests pay their tabs from their tables, according to an analyst report.

CPK is also using the device to market menu items, conduct surveys and recruit loyalty program members, said Brad Ludington of Keybanc Capital Markets Inc., who follows CPK and is aware of some details of the trial through “channel checks.”

He added that the technology has possible positive ramifications for the struggling casual-dining segment.

“We believe that the potential cost savings, positive impact on
customer satisfaction, improved reads on new menu items and improved market research capabilities could not only help CPKI, but could be a trend seen across multiple casual-dining brands in the coming years,” Ludington said in a report Friday.

CPK is not ready to comment publicly about the technology trial, according to a representative of the Los Angeles-based company, which operates or franchises about 260 restaurants. Most of the company’s locations are casual-dining sites under its California Pizza Kitchen brand.

Word of the tabletop device test by CPK comes just days after the closure of the last of three “interactive restaurants” operated by uWink Inc., a startup by Atari and Chuck E. Cheese’s creator Nolan Bushnell.

The Sept. 12 closure of the uWink casual-dining restaurant at the Hollywood & Highland retail center in Los Angeles was noted at the company’s website. It followed the April 2009 shuttering of a uWink in Mountain View, Calif., and the closure in January of the company’s original three-year-old location in Woodland Hills, Calif.

UWink, which in 2008 began to suffer significant decreases in restaurant sales as the recession kicked in, spun off its technology development and sales arm, Tapcode Inc., last year, before it began closing its restaurant operations. The company’s technology had attracted widespread interest within the industry by permitting guests to order food and drinks, play games, watch movie trailers or other video content, and pay their tabs using a touch-screen terminal at each table.

CPK is testing the wireless Ziosk brand terminal technology of Dallas-based TableTop Media at single restaurants in the California cities of Huntington Beach and Long Beach, as well as in a Dallas location, NRN phone calls to a variety of CPK units determined.

The wireless Ziosk terminals also have been in trial or deployed for nearly three years at selected branches of the Cozymel’s Mexican Grill chain, including locations in Grapevine, Texas, and Manhattan Beach, Calif. TableTop Media and Cozymel’s share some ownership and executive leadership in Dallas entrepreneur Jack Baum.

Multiple franchised Chili’s Grill & Bar restaurants in the Chicago market operated by ERJ Dining of Louisville, Ky., are using the touch-screen devices, which also are under review or being tried by other national foodservice chains that TableTop officials would not identify because of non-disclosure agreements.

Financial analyst Ludington said CPK has been testing the Ziosk technology in selected restaurants since late last month. He said the pay-at-table feature in test “may be the most important function,” as it permits guests to split the check as they see fit and pay by swiping their own credit or debit card.

“We believe that this could increase throughput and significantly boost customer satisfaction scores as the customer gets to finish the experience on his or her own terms,” Ludington wrote.

CPK is not testing all Ziosk features, Ludington noted, but it is testing a “digital table tent” function that lets guests touch their way through multiple screens of images and information about drinks, appetizers, desserts and coffees.

“We believe that the interactive nature provided here will likely increase trail, which has always been an issue for CPK, as many customers just order their favorite item rather than look through the menu for new options,” the analyst said. “This will also help cut costs in the long term as the company could just send new promotions out digitally to the entire restaurant system rather than having to print out individual table tents each time.”

CPK is also testing Ziosk’s real-time guest surveying and interaction tools, including an E-Club loyalty program sign-up screen, Ludington said.

“We believe that this will not only significantly increase the survey response rate and improve the quality of CPKI’s market research,” he said, “but will also allow for real-time resolution of problems, as it has the capability to send out a manager alert if negative responses.”

If initial test results are positive, Ludington said he believes CPK will expand the test to other restaurants and possibly test additional features of the device.

Though CPK is unlikely to use such terminals to replace servers, Ludington said CPK may test letting guests order additional drinks and desserts using the devices and that the technology could help bolster loyalty and gift card programs and help meet pending government mandates to display menu item nutrition information.

Back

What Clients Say About Patrice & Associates

  • Hospitality Recruiter Can Help You Find a Job!

    Karl was the best asset in securing my new position. He was there coaching and teaching me every step of the way. I have been working in the food industry for 20+ years and this is the first time I have used a recruiter. I have been on both ends of the hiring process and Karl has helped to know what people are looking for and what I should be looking for when hiring new employees. I look forward to meeting Karl and shaking his hand. If needed I would seek Karl out again!         Mahmoud Elkhyati         Need help with your resume – Have a Recruitment Specialist help you for FREE       Hospitality Recruiter Can Help You Find a Job!
  • Hospitality Recruitment Works!

    My interactions with Mr. Richard were professional. He was very accommodating to my wants in needs when it came to the company I was looking to become a part of. I had tried myself to obtain a position with this company, but I was not able to do so on my own. With Richard's help I was able to land the position.  He kept me in the loop when it came to every interview that I had from beginning to end and kept me very upbeat and positive about the experience. I believe this is how a head hunter or recruiter should perform when dealing with clients very professional and had integrity in everything that he did.     Albert Jones     Hospitality Recruitment matches YOUR skills with the perfect job Hospitality Recruitment Works!
  • Hospitality Recruiters Are Here to Help

    Daniel was a great help to me on my job search. From the first time I was contacted by him I felt he was here not only to help the company find the right candidate but he was there to make sure I was right for the position.  Daniel is very persistent when he is working with you.  He knows that time is of the essence and he helps you adhere to a very strict timeline to be successful.  Daniel is there for you when you are feeling unsure and is always available to discuss just about anything.  He has a wealth of FOH & BOH knowledge and that really put me at ease because I have not met many recruiters with FOH & BOH experience. Talking to someone who has been where you have been really puts you at ease!  I am very appreciative that I had the chance to work with Daniel on this occasion.  I am thankful he was understanding, attentive, communicative, and seems to generally care about you as a person and a perspective candidate! Katherine Woods         Career Coaches that help you for FREE Hospitality Recruiters Are Here to Help
  • Hospitality Recruiters Make the Best Match for You in Your Next Job!

    Tom Schmitt was nothing but more than professional and courteous to me.  He originally contacted me about a company looking for a General Manager.  I was employed at the time, but not very happy in my situation.  Tom talked to me in great detail in regards to the position he had.  After careful consideration, I decided to pursue the opportunity.  He helped me create a more professional resume to present to the company.  He communicated to me on a daily basis as I went through the interview process.  I was eventually given an offer for the General Manager position.  I can honestly say that without Tom's help, I would still be in an unhappy job.   Thank you,   Roy Riddle     What kinds of jobs does a Hospitality Recruitment Specialist have for me? Hospitality Recruiters Make the Best Match for You in Your Next Job!
  • Hospitality Recruiters can help YOU find a job!

    Stephanie Yee played a key role in not only getting me in the door for my first interview, but in every step thereafter in the process. Stephanie coached me on effective interview strategies specific to my prospective role and made herself available for questions anytime. I was consistently kept in the loop with each new step in the process and her client insights proved invaluable. I always knew what to expect at each turn and who I would be interviewing with, along with basics like where to park and expected attire…all things that can easily trip up a less informed candidate.  In addition to all of this, Stephanie’s naturally positive attitude helped me to stay calm throughout a lengthy interview process that spanned a number of anxiety driven weeks. In short, without Stephanie in my corner, I wouldn’t have been able to turn this new chapter in my career. Sincerely, Steve Davis Hospitality Recruitment matches YOUR skills with the perfect job Hospitality Recruiters can help YOU find a job!