There is a trend that has been happening in some of the national chain restaurants. It's impossible to miss because it is already waiting for you when you sit down at the table. Certain chains are including a tablet-like device at each table that allows people to play games, learn about specials - and even place their orders. Although there is still a server who will be bringing drinks, checking on food and dropping the check, this represents a new direction in the industry that many casual fine dining restaurants, especially the privately owned ones, are fighting against, for a variety of reasons.
What makes a privately owned location stand out from the rest of the Appleton, Wisconsin restaurants is the fact that it offers a menu and an experience that cannot be had anywhere else. By using a touch screen to place orders, it is not too far a step from the concept of casual-fast dining - where customers order their food and pay for it at a counter before sitting down and having it delivered - or fast food itself. These concepts work because of the uniformity of the food. You go into a fast food burger location anywhere in the country and. with the rare exception of a limited time menu item special, you know exactly what your choices are. In fact, odds are you probably already know what you are going to order before you even step inside.
A casual fine dining restaurant that is driven by its unique menu offerings does not have that luxury. Many times a customer's first experience with such a restaurant might be their first experience with any restaurant that features such a specialized menu. If a patron does not know what a Latin fusion menu is, and instead of having someone there to help explain it and lead them through the menu, they are not going to stay. A tablet on a countertop is no match for the personal interaction.
It is striking to note that although many people are embracing this new change in the restaurant process, just as many seem to be striking out against it. People who already spend much of the day tied to one screen or another are grateful for the opportunity to not have to look at one for a while, and parents who already struggle to limit their children's screen time and teach them how to interact socially do not want the added distraction. The best way to avoid the possibility is to venture out from the national chains and instead visit a new locally based restaurant instead. Not only will you be helping out a local business, you might experience a whole new style of cooking as well.
Jack Terry is a freelance writer who has been covering the food and beverage industry for more than 20 years. http://www.osorioslatinfusion.com