Digital Food: iPads at Your Restaurant Table

When I go out to eat with a group of friends there is nothing worse than having to compete with everyone’s devices just to have face to face conversation. Having great fellowship was one of the main reasons I used to like eating out.

One cool idea to counteract this problem is the social experiment called “The Phone Stack”, highlighted in the men’s magazine Kempt.

“It works like this: as you arrive, each person places their phone facedown in the center of the table. (If you’re feeling theatrical, you can go for a stack like this one, but it’s not required.) As the meal goes on, you’ll hear various texts and emails arriving… and you’ll do absolutely nothing. You’ll face temptation—maybe even a few involuntary reaches toward the middle of the table—but you’ll be bound by the single, all-important rule of the phone stack. Whoever picks up their phone is footing the bill.”

But some restaurants are making it even more difficult for humans to be social over dinner without digital screens. A few restaurants are already putting an iPad at every table. According to an article on MacRumors, this is for two main reasons:

1. It “will allow customers to place their own orders and browse the Internet.”

2. It can allow the user to pay with a credit card.

Restaurants can buy an iPad for $750 set up with a credit card scanner, a kickstand, and a case that offers security and protection. To solve the short battery life, it also  has extended power capacity up to 16 hours of battery life.

So how are people responding to iPads at their tables? In a restaurant called Buffalow Wild Wings, they found that “men in a group typically watched a football or hockey game” while “women in the group would pick up the iPad and launch Facebook.”

Forget the phone stack, let’s just bring our iPads when we go out to eat, or better yet, just give me my food on a tablet and a digital fork to go with it.

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