Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD) is among the many consumer-facing companies embracing mobile technology, but the fast casual chain is looking at tablets as in-store tools rather than simply another piece of hardware in the hands of customers.
For the past year, Buffalo Wild Wings has been testing tabletop tablets and plans to roll the program out to all company-owned locations by the end of 2014. The goal, according to CEO Sally Smith, is to create "a unique dining experience for our guests."
The tabletop tablets are more than just digital menus. The devices allow customers to have a more interactive experience while dining. "This platform combines a differentiated and interactive experience offering Buzztime trivia, poker, arcade cell games and more," she said. "We're rolling out the ability to select music from the tablet, get news and a number of (other) things."
"We're testing guest ordering and payment capabilities and we expect roll out of this functionality in the back half of the year," said Smith. The tablets are in about 145 locations currently and only a handful have ordering capabilities. In-tablet ordering is being tested before the function is turned on.
While ordering and payment features are important, the real focus for Buffalo Wild Wings is on how to create a more interactive experience, one that allows customers to interact in-store on mobile devices, either with personal smartphones or company-supplied tablets.
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