Mexican Restaurant Uses iPads as MenusiPads at Temazcal Cantina feature rich photography, detailed information
Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 July 2011 07:53 Written by victorB Tuesday, 19 July 2011 07:50
“Table for two?”
“Right this way. And here are your iPads.”
Ever since Apple’s iPad launched, we’ve been hearing about how it will
replace things – books, newspapers, computers and even restaurant menus.
Indeed, a smattering
of restaurants have supplemented their old-fashioned paper menus with
Temazcal Cantina, a traditional
Mexican restaurant in Boston, offered Commercial Integrator a look at
how it’s planning to take the iPad menu experience a step further when it opens
in April with an innovative digital menu approach.
Chef Todd Hall and primary investor Jon Cronin use the iPad to provide
customers with rich information about menu items, including great photography.
Customers will be greeted by, essentially, a home page featuring tabs for
entrees, appetizers, tequila, etc. Clicking on a tab and then a menu item calls
up images of the dish. The photos – all taken by Hall, a photography enthusiast
- are remarkably good.
Since some people like to know what they’re eating, each menu item
also has a “recipe” tab so customers can view a photo of the ingredients Hall
uses for each item and they can even see nutritional information.
Each menu item also has a “history” tab with long descriptions of the dishes’
origins, traditions and influences – all written personally by Hall.
iPad Images of Menu Items
The iPads aren’t in lieu of a wait staff at Temazcal Cantina. In fact, part
of the wait staff’s jobs will be to introduce and explain the iPad menu even
though “it’s easier to use than an ATM,” Hall says.
There is no “order” button on these iPads so customers still place their
orders the old-fashioned way – verbally to a waitress or waiter.
And yes, if customers don’t feel like dealing with an iPad, there are paper
On Integration & Security
The pessimists out there are probably
saying: “Really? They’re going to hand out iPads in a crowded room where
everybody is drinking tequila … and expect to get them back? Really?”
Really, Hall says. “We have faith in people.” That being said, there are
several security measures in place.
The first line of defense is what Hall calls “iPad renters.” Before parties
are taken to their tables, this person hands each member a numbered iPad and
registers the numbers.
After a party places its orders, the iPad renter is sent to the table to
retrieve the tablets. Understandably, some patrons will want to hang onto the
iPads and peruse items and dish histories, Hall says. “We’ll be cool about it if
they want to hang onto them for a while.”
But before any checks are closed, “we make sure all iPads are returned.”
Additional security is more technical in nature. All iPad features beyond the
menu ordering program have been disabled from Temazcal Cantina’s tablets. So
customers can’t use the products to play games, browse the Internet, etc. –
something that has reportedly
been a problem at other restaurants that offer iPad menus.
Perhaps most importantly, Hall says, all of Temazcal Cantina’s iPads are
programmed to shut down when taken beyond a small radius from the restaurant.
Even more security is being put in place, according to Rich Cronin of RPC Consultants, Jon’s brother. RPC is
part of a small Ireland-based team that worked closely with Hall and Jon to
create a software solution for their vision.
From the restaurant’s point of view, one of the big benefits of iPad menus
appears to be the ease in which information can be updated. This may be
particularly appealing to restaurants impacted by a provision
in the health care reform law requiring them to provide rich nutritional
data in their menus.
Rich explains the updating process:
“The iPads periodically check a local server to see if there are menu
changes. If there are, they update themselves.
“The menu itself is managed via a Silverlight-based website where Todd can
add/edit his menu, including adding pictures etc.
“Naturally he can also adjust the order in which dishes are displayed, the
pricing, etc. When he publishes a new version of the menu the local server
updates its local cache, and feeds it to the iPads when they look for changes.
“The local server is purely to reduce the load on the broadband connection.
So it should be very easy for Todd to update the menu, in fact he has added all
the information to date.
“The public website for Temazcal will also show the same menu as the iPads.
So the public website will always be immediately up to date, the iPads may be 30
minutes or so behind.”
iPad Images of Menu Items
Interested in Ipad integration for your business?
Call us at 434-985-2855, ask for Victor