Restaurant chain Buffalo Wild Wings is testing the use of iPads at a few of its locations for a possible chain-wide launch in the near future. The iPads would be used to order food and drinks and visit Facebook and Twitter while guests are waiting for the hot wings to arrive.
The iPad won’t replace the traditional waiter, but will free up the server to spend less time taking orders and more time delivering hot food and refilling drinks. The company does not have official plans for the iPad integration. In an interview with Computer World, Buffalo Wild Wings’ director of international business Tim Murphy said the chain hasn’t decided whether to combine purchasing from the device with purely entertainment uses, something it hopes to measure in its tests.
The iPads are protected in a case that is specifically designed for restaurant use by Hubworks Interactive. Each iPad package includes an 8GB iPad with the case, a magnetic credit card reader slot and extended charging capability for $750. The company offers proprietary point-of-sale purchasing software service and table mounts as well.
According to Computer World, The company had a difficult time integrating their own POS system with Hubworks, so plans are being made to allow users to order drinks and wings through a web-based system that is already in place for customers who order food for pick-up.
The decision to use iPads as opposed to another tablet was based partly on the fact that Apple’s device is better-known and larger than others on the market.
Results from a prior test at the company’s Toronto location showed that men in groups typically watched a sports game on the iPad, while women in groups would launch Facebook. “We have a very captive audience with good sales volume in our restaurants, so we view this iPad as a way for customers to stay connected socially and not have to use their own device,” Murphy said.
The Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant chain is one of many retail companies incorporating the iPad into its customer experience. A recent survey by Aruba Networks showed that 56 percent of businesses plan to implement mobile technology systems using the iPad. It seems completely possible that, in the near future, we will see iPads at every restaurant, waiting to take our order as soon as we sit down.