E-Menu: A side of computer with your meal sir?

Ever had to wait too long for a waiter or waitress come to take your order? Did they have a surly demeanor? Ever had your meal arrive at the table only to realize that it wasn’t what you ordered? That may all change with new technology that is allowing diners to order their food directly from their table via a touch-screen computer system.

Companies developing “e-Menu” technology argue that not only does the system cut costs, but it in fact helps to boost sales. When a customer sits down in front of a computer screen and browses through delicious looking pictures of food, he may in fact order more. Who wouldn’t click on the golden creme brulée or the fresh looking sushi? It’s called impulse ordering ladies and gentleman. On top of it all, the touch screens can be accessed in different languages, allowing you to avoid the confusion that comes with language barriers. E-Menus have become so popular that restaurants in Europe, Japan, the United States and Israel are all testing out the new technology.

Although the tech-savvy might easily fall in love with the new ordering systems, traditionalists have their concerns. Computers can’t add the personal touch. If you’re a regular they won’t know your name and if you’re a visitor they won’t let you have a breath of the local culture via personal interactions. I once had a friend who tried to order a coffee — un cafe monsieur — in France and the waiter came back with a croque monsieur. It might not have been what he wanted, but it certainly made for a good story; you can be sure that it wouldn’t have happened with a computer screen.

Read more about e-Menus here.