HT Image
HT Image

Restaurants try e-menus

Restaurants in Europe, the United States and Japan are testing technology to let diners order their food direct from a screen at their table instead of depending on a fellow human being to note their choice. Read on...
By Rebecca Harrison | Reuters, Tel Aviv
UPDATED ON FEB 25, 2008 10:35 PM IST

Restaurants in Europe, the United States and Japan are testing technology to let diners order their food direct from a screen at their table instead of depending on a fellow human being to note their choice -- sometimes grumpily or erroneously.

Besides cutting costs, companies that sell the "e-menu" argue the bytes-for-bites approach has a novelty value that can lure younger customers, and boost revenues as tantalising photographs of succulent steaks and gooey desserts tempt diners to order more.

It also could extend the TV dinner. How about a computer-game dinner?

The idea may be only the latest gimmick in a trade which is driven by consumer appetites and where fads help. But at least for now, it appears to be boosting business.

In Israel, privately owned start-up Conceptic has already installed e-Menu technology in sushi bars, pubs and family restaurants. The system is based on touch-screens already used in self-service canteens or for ticketing in airports and cinemas.

"It's about impulse-buying," said Adi Chitayat, Conceptic's chief executive. "If a person starts looking at pictures of chocolate cake, the chances are he'll order it."

The firm has also supplied its systems to restaurants in France, South Africa and Belgium.

Frame, a trendy sushi restaurant in Tel Aviv which has installed the system, said sales on tables with the e-Menu have increased by about 11 percent. Customers often call ahead to reserve spots equipped with the screens, manager Natalie Edry told Reuters.

At one of the e-Menu tables, information technology worker Gil Uriel and his young family were enthusiastic as they checked out pictures of the dishes on offer and squabbled over desserts.

"It's more visual," said Uriel, as his children clicked away furiously on a games function between courses. "We can still choose, we can still argue -- but it's much easier when you can all see it."


Transformation tech?
In Japan, a company called Aska T3 has produced a similar system. But the field is attracting more than startups.

Microsoft says its new Microsoft Surface system, which transforms an entire table into one big touch-screen, is due to go live in spring 2008 in some U.S. hotels and casinos, letting customers order food direct as well as play music and games.

The Seattle-based giant says on its Web site it will "transform the way people shop, dine, entertain and live". Both Conceptic and Microsoft argue their examples of interactive and communal technology represent the future.

"We are living in a technology age," said Conceptic's Chitayat. "People are not afraid of screens." The company, which launched its pilot in 2006, expects to turn a profit in mid-2009, he added.

From restaurants which use conveyor-belt dish delivery to one at the Dutch university of Wageningen which tracks diners with concealed cameras, technology is increasingly penetrating eateries, in a bid to boost sales.

Chitayat said taking computers into restaurants is an obvious next step after technology revolutionised the workplace, although he noted restaurants with the e-Menu -- including Frame -- still rely on waiters to deliver the food.

His company is also piloting a Web-based version, to let customers log on to a restaurant's WiFi Internet network and place their orders from their own laptops, hand-held computers or cell phones.

"I Belive in Humans"
But many diners doubt the e-menu idea will take off.

"I don't believe in screens, I believe in humans," said businessman Yoash Torkman as he lunched at Frame. "I'll wait for 15 minutes for a waitress instead of using this. It's a gimmick and gimmicks have very short lives."

In Europe, where dining out is a time-honoured tradition as much about good conversation and etiquette as staving off hunger, waiting staff were unsurprisingly circumspect.

"See this man here? He's been coming here for 25 years," said a waitress at Italian restaurant Rosticceria Fiorentina in Brussels, who gave her name only as Giovanna.

"I know his wife, I know his daughter. Do you think it would be better if he was welcomed by computer?"

Some analysts also wonder if the appeal will extend beyond early-adopters like the Frame customer Uriel, to evolve into a tool that changes the way people eat out.

"There are always some people who embrace a new technology but others will avoid it for as long as possible," said Jackie Fenn, emerging technology analyst at Gartner consulting group.

"Will a bunch of teenagers have a blast using it? Yes. But it will take time to move from being an attraction in a small number of restaurants to something that is widespread."

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde said that even under the existing system, Magistrates are made witnesses during trial as they record dying declaration and hold test identification parade. (HT PHOTO).
The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde said that even under the existing system, Magistrates are made witnesses during trial as they record dying declaration and hold test identification parade. (HT PHOTO).

Top court proposes cadre of magistrates to fill gaps in police investigation

By Abraham Thomas
PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 11:55 PM IST
  • The bench, also comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat apart from Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde were of the view that magistrates should play a more “intrusive” role in investigation.
Close
Police said the accused surrendered after killing the woman.(Representational Photo/Getty Images)
Police said the accused surrendered after killing the woman.(Representational Photo/Getty Images)

College student in Andhra Pradesh killed for rejecting marriage proposal

PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 11:44 PM IST
  • Police said the accused and the victim were in a relationship for a year, but of late she had been avoiding him.
Close
Currently, the Railways have operationalized almost 65 per cent of Mail/Express trains and over 90 per cent of suburban services as compared to pre lockdown times. (HT PHOTO).
Currently, the Railways have operationalized almost 65 per cent of Mail/Express trains and over 90 per cent of suburban services as compared to pre lockdown times. (HT PHOTO).

Higher fares for short distance trains to discourage needless travel: Railways

PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 11:31 PM IST
  • The national carrier at present is operating only special passenger trains since the curbs on lockdown were eased. Regular passenger trains have been suspended since March 25, 2020.
Close
When asked about the new strains of the virus that have been found in several parts of the country, Guleria said authorities are closely monitoring the situation.(ANI photo)
When asked about the new strains of the virus that have been found in several parts of the country, Guleria said authorities are closely monitoring the situation.(ANI photo)

New strains not more infectious, need to aggressively monitor situation: Guleria

ANI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 11:28 PM IST
"Currently we have vaccines with efficacy of 70 per cent , 80 per cent, 90 per cent so even if there is slight fall in efficacy they will still be effective in preventing the virus from further spreading," Guleria told in an interview to ANI.
Close
Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel recovered 2 Improvised Explosive Devices (1 pressure cooker and 1 pipe type) placed in a series manner near Dhanora, Narayanpur on Tuesday. (ANI photo)
Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel recovered 2 Improvised Explosive Devices (1 pressure cooker and 1 pipe type) placed in a series manner near Dhanora, Narayanpur on Tuesday. (ANI photo)

2 security personnel killed in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur in Maoist attacks

PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 11:16 PM IST
  • Both the casualties took place due to IED blasts.
Close
Motera Stadium is the world's largest cricket stadium. (PTI)
Motera Stadium is the world's largest cricket stadium. (PTI)

Govt clarifies on controversy over Motera stadium being named after PM

Written by Prashasti Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 24, 2021 11:22 PM IST
Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera, inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind, is part of a larger complex, named 'Sardar Patel Sports Complex'.
Close
Twitter ignored orders to remove content over farmers' protests.(Reuters)
Twitter ignored orders to remove content over farmers' protests.(Reuters)

India plans new social media controls after Twitter face-off

Reuters, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 24, 2021 11:03 PM IST
The latest draft rules say companies should remove the content as early as possible, but no later than 36 hours, after a government or legal order.
Close
Sanbor Shullai, one of the two BJP MLAs in Meghalaya, has described hi party as a sinking ship. (HT PHOTO)
Sanbor Shullai, one of the two BJP MLAs in Meghalaya, has described hi party as a sinking ship. (HT PHOTO)

Differences in Meghalaya BJP intensifies, coalition govt comes under strain

By David Laitphlang
PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 10:52 PM IST
  • The BJP unit has also been at loggerheads with the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) dispensation with its chief Earnest Mawrie accusing it of anomalies in governance.
Close
Shahjahanpur's police chief said a few suspects have been detained for questioning .(Representational Photo/PTI)
Shahjahanpur's police chief said a few suspects have been detained for questioning .(Representational Photo/PTI)

UP cops hunt for clues into case of college girl found with burn injuries

PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 10:03 PM IST
  • Shahjahanpur’s superintendent of police S Anand, SP, denied reports that the girl was burnt after a failed rape attempt
Close
An SDRF team widening the channel of a glacial lake in Uttarakhand to increase the discharge of water from it on Wednesday.(SDRF)
An SDRF team widening the channel of a glacial lake in Uttarakhand to increase the discharge of water from it on Wednesday.(SDRF)

Expert team widens mouth of lake formed upstream Rishiganga for faster drainage

PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 09:39 PM IST
  • An expert team is trying to drain out the lake to prevent another tragedy like the Chamoli flash flood.
Close
The Koya tribes in large numbers make it a point to assemble at Medaram on “Magha Suddha Pournami” (the full-moon day of the month of Magha) every year to pay obeisance to the deities. (HT PHOTO).
The Koya tribes in large numbers make it a point to assemble at Medaram on “Magha Suddha Pournami” (the full-moon day of the month of Magha) every year to pay obeisance to the deities. (HT PHOTO).

Amid Covid-19 fears, thousands throng Telangana’s Sammakka-Saralamma festival

PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 09:34 PM IST
  • The tribal fair draws devotees not only from Telangana, but also from other states like Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
Close
The results will be considered valid if the test was 72 hours of flight departure. (PTI Photo/Kunal Patil)(PTI)
The results will be considered valid if the test was 72 hours of flight departure. (PTI Photo/Kunal Patil)(PTI)

West Bengal makes RT-PCR tests mandatory for arrivals from Maha, 3 other states

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Ayshee Bhaduri, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 09:28 PM IST
  • The notice released by the state government stated “All passengers coming to West Bengal from the aforementioned 4 states shall mandatorily carry a covid negative RT-PCR report for such test conducted within 72 hours of flight departure.”
Close
Army troopers near the encounter site in Shalgul forests in Anantnag district on Wednesday.(ANI)
Army troopers near the encounter site in Shalgul forests in Anantnag district on Wednesday.(ANI)

2 terrorists killed in encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’ Anantnag

PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 09:17 PM IST
  • The police said they were ascertaining the identities and affiliation of the two terrorists.
Close
According to the wildlife conservationist, the dominance of the costs of human casualties rationalises the innate fear and respect towards large species like elephants displayed by those living with wildlife in India(Representative Image/HT File Photo)
According to the wildlife conservationist, the dominance of the costs of human casualties rationalises the innate fear and respect towards large species like elephants displayed by those living with wildlife in India(Representative Image/HT File Photo)

Lives lost to wildlife-human conflict inadequately compensated in India: Study

Posted by Ayshee Bhaduri | PTI, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 24, 2021 09:16 PM IST
  • The research says the average compensation paid for human death in the country is 1,91,437, and the average compensation paid for injury is 6,185.
Close
Commuters at Kurla railway station after Central Railways resumed local train service for essential staff. (HT file)
Commuters at Kurla railway station after Central Railways resumed local train service for essential staff. (HT file)

News updates from HT: Railways ministry clarifies fare hike and all latest news

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 08:51 PM IST
Here are today’s top news, analysis and opinion. Know all about the latest news and other news updates from Hindustan Times.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP