Guide To Using IPads In Your Restaurant

Restaurant App for iPadYou’ve decided it’s time to bring your restaurant into the forefront of the digital age and are looking for something new that may give you an edge on the competition.  Could putting an iPad in your restaurant be the solution?  If done properly, we believe the answer to this question is yes.  In order to determine whether using an iPad in your business makes sense, numerous factors need to be considered.

Desired Use: In the restaurant setting, iPads have been used in the following capacities; which makes sense for your business?

Restaurant POS (Point Of Sale) Apps –  Given the cost of traditional cash registers and PC based point-of-sale systems, it’s no surprise that iOS app developers would focus on this market.  Between the easy to use interface of the iPad as well as the durability and affordable price, many businesses would benefit from implementing a restaurant POS iPad system.  There are numerous POS apps out on the market today that offer quite different options, so we suggest researching thoroughly.  In our experience, we have heard positive reviews of Revel Systems, Isis, and POS Lavu.

Social Media & Email Address Collection Apps – While a Restaurant POS app may make the lives of your wait staff and cooks easier, an iPad app to get Facebook Likes, Twitter Followers, and customer email addresses could become the best friend of your business’s marketing team.  OnSpot Social, which can be downloaded for free, is able to perform all of these functions and requires no ongoing maintenance from your staff.

Menu Apps – Trendier restaurants have taken the dining experience to new levels by placing iPads at each table to be used as menus.   Customers love this concept, although employing numerous tablets around a restaurant may require a considerable investment.  Over time though, iPads may pay for themselves, as wait staff is needed less around the restaurant since they no longer need to take orders.

Waiting List Apps – Is there typically a large crowd of patrons waiting to be seated at your establishment?  Utilizing an iPad with a digital waiting list app can simplify the whole process for the host/hostess.  A great app in this area is the visually pleasing NoshList.

Clientele / Employees:  Although the different restaurant iPad apps mentioned above may sound great, would they work in your particular restaurant.  The main question here is “Do your customers and employees embrace technology?”  Today, most generations are comfortable using an IPad, but this may be an aspect to consider.

Atmosphere: Does newer technology fit in with the environment and theme of your restaurant?  Typically iPads compliment most restaurants, but in certain formal dining environments and historical inns they may conflict.

Budget: Lastly, the determining question: “Well, how much does it cost?”  It really depends on what type of app and setup you decide to go with.  Besides major POS systems, iPad apps are usually cheap and refurbished iPads from Apple with warranties can be purchased for $350 per unit. iPad kiosks and stands also widely vary in price, ranging anywhere from $25 for a non-secured stand to $900 for a high quality secured floor stand.

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