iPads Waiting in the Wings

iPads Waiting in the Wings

Does high technology mix with chicken bones and beer? Buffalo Wild Wings is investigating.

The incongruity of hand-held electronics and the messiest of finger foods is unavoidable. There are meals that you put your smart phone away for. Golden Valley–based Buffalo Wild Wings is preparing to spare your electronics while slaking your thirst for information. It is offering iPads at a location in Ontario and soon one in the Twin Cities as part of a pilot program testing an ordering system that allows guests to peruse menu items, place orders, and pay for meals with the device at each table. Guests can also play games, get score tickers, and log-in to Facebook or Twitter accounts to announce their presence while their wings are cooking.

Buffalo Wild Wings Director, International Tim Murphy says it’s a more efficient ordering system. A menu application installed on the iPads delivers orders directly from the devices to a cook’s station or bar over a wireless network. Murphy says this reduces wait times because guests don’t have to wait for a server to take orders.

Buffalo Wild Wings is assessing how much the system would cost per restaurant. It’s also too early to say if the company will launch it on a wider scale, but Murphy is intrigued. He says “This could potentially be a revenue generator for us,” as liquor and technology partners might place digital ads on the devices or BWW might charge customers for games. “There are a lot of people who think that these devices will be much more prevalent in the casual restaurant industry as labor costs continue to rise.”
 
No word yet on whether Apple is customizing an iPad impervious to butter, Tabasco, and beer.