by Karl Utermohlen | December 4, 2013 12:15 pm
DineEquity (DIN) subsidiary Applebee’s is making life easier for its customers by installing tablets on tables in all of its U.S. locations.
The restaurant chain is adding 100,000 tablets around the country in its 1,860 restaurants, according to Businessweek.
The devices will help customers customize their orders and pay the check, and even let them play video games while they’re waiting. However, the chain is not planning on replacing any of its staff for tablets — it is simply creating a digital front for consumers to have a more enjoyable Applebee’s experience.
“Every restaurant has a stove, every restaurant has a fryer,” DineEquity senior vice president Jay Johns told Businessweek. “That doesn’t mean every restaurant is the same. It’s what you do with it.”
Johns added that the device’s presence in the restaurant could become as important to the Applebee’s package as its signature appetizers.
Johns said the chain hired a startup named E La Carte to build the devices which run on the Android operating system. The company is a Y Combinator offspring, and Intel (INTC) is a major investor.
Applebee’s isn’t the first chain to introduce tablets to its restaurants as Chili’s — owned by Brinker International (EAT) — started doing so earlier this year, and Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) has been testing in-store tablets as well.
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