Applebee's is proving it has a taste for high-tech. Yesterday, Dec. 2, the chain unveiled plans to install 100,000 tablets at all of its restaurants across the country by the end of 2014. The company says that customers will be able to use the Presto tablets from E la Carte to order appetizers, drinks, desserts, and even play video games while waiting for their meal.
With over 1,865 locations in the U.S., Applebee's is the nation's largest casual dining chain. The implementation of of nearly 100,000 tablets will rank among the largest-ever rollout of tablet technology in the private sector. A recent report ranks the Chicago public school system's deployment of 60,000 iPads as the biggest such iPad deployment.
The tablets won't be replacing the wait staff or physical menus at Applebee's, but the company hopes they'll attract and engage a younger audience. The company also says its tabletop tablets will offer new conveniences to customers, including being able to pay the bill and leave without having to flag down a waiter.
Chili's, Applebees largest rival, has already begun offering customers access to tabletop computer screens at more than 800 locations, and the move is proving to be worthwhile. In tests, Chili's found diners who ate at tables equipped with the tablets spent more per check, particularly on "up-sell" items like dessert and coffee.
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