December 3rd, 2013
10:40 AM ET

Applebee's to Replace Waiters with Tablets?

Applebee's, the nation's largest casual dining chain, is announcing plans this morning to place tablets in all of their restaurants by the end of 2014.

Diners can use the tablets to order appetizers, drinks, desserts, and even play video games.

So - are waiters being replaced by technology?

The host of Techbytes, Brett Larson, doesn’t think so.

“I don’t think it’ll do away with waiters because we still need people to bring the food from the kitchen to the table,” Larson says.

Already popping up in airports, Larson says tablets can make the dining experience quicker and more convenient.

“It reduces the need for people. It reduces errors,” he says.  “So I see something like this being good in terms of speeding things up.”

He says test marketing the tablets in more than 1,000 Applebee's locations have resulted in an increase in orders of appetizers and deserts.

“I think that’s because of the picture menu, Larson says. “And the tablet doesn’t judge you.  It's not like it raises its eyebrows when you’re like, ‘I would like the 2,500 calorie chocolate lava cake.’”

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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. M. AARON

    also matt have you ever worked at a restaurant? are you aware that someone orders dessert at the end of the meal and that they have already ordered their drink? And you get free refills so how would that lead to increased thirst and more drink orders? Its people like you that encourage this type of technology driven ruin of our society. Do you not understand that they are replacing people with technology and getting rid of jobs?!>?!?!?!?! helloo!! soon it will only be the super rich and the super poor i hope you are rich buddy since you think this idea is so great.

    December 9, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Reply
    • FYI M. AARON

      Hey M. AARON – learn to read/spell. The article says DESERTS not DESSERTS therefore Matt is being a smartbutt when he made his comment about increasing thirst. So 1. don't jump down his throat and 2. no wonder you work in a restaurant since you can't read/spell.

      December 20, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  2. M. AARON

    I am a server at applebees and i think this idea is ridiculous they think it will cut costs how? you could either have a trained employee put orders in who knows the menu and computer or have a customer do it and they will probably end up ordering the wrong thing and have it taken off their check anyway. Also what tips am i going to get probably none because people will think they dont have to tip since they are doing all the work themselves if they think they are going to pay me 2 dollars an hour to be their implement this new process and me make NO money they are so mistaken. They can go pay someone minimum wage to run food and bus tables because i will not be working their any longer. Eating out is a dining experience people want to be pampered and taken care of not put their orders in themselves so i guess applebees is changing their brand instead of being a casual dining restaraunt they just turned in to a big version of sheetz or panera bread. This is not dining its ordering an mto. It might work at the airport but trust me at the store i work in with 90% of the customers being 60+ they will be paying out alot of money in food cost when they have to take off orders from peoples checks because they ordered the wrong item or didnt know what they were ordering. Also people buy more things because there are pictures?!?! what do they think a menu is? but you dont have a server pushing alcohol and upselling to them its a computer and its real easy to click no once you see the price. Ofcourse they are keeping the servers because it saves them money they only pay us 2 dollars an hour if they had to pay other people it would cost them more but noone is going to work that job if they are getting paid minimum wage and noone is going to work there if our tips go down. The point of being a server is to make tips that is how we make our money and you make a lot more waiting tables than working for 8/ hour at walmart. So if we arent going to make the same amount of money then we will go wait tables somewhere else where we will. This is an example of a greedy company who is looking for anyway to save a buck even if it means they are hurting and using and abusing their employees and it outrages me! they do not care about their workers they care that they only made 20 million last year and want to make 21 million this year...how much money does one person need its sickening. I hope this idea costs them even more money and that it crashes and burns i hope that applebees suffers a severe loss from this and never recovers and also their food sucks so i will never eat here again even with the crappy discount they give me. The discount they give their employees is a joke too compared to other restaraunts ive worked at. Their food is so bad and i work their i would only eat the appetizers on the menu and how do you mess up fried food?!?! other places ive worked at there wasnt one thing on the menus i didnt like except maybe the salmon here its like every other thing i order is awful burnt served cold gross ingredients and im not even a picky eater. Maybe they should work on their horrible menu items and crappy food presentation before turning their restaraunt into MTO central. I am really starting to hate applebees.

    December 9, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  3. Matt

    Glad to know that the tablets have increased ordering of deserts. Probably leads to increase thirst and thus more drink orders too!

    December 6, 2013 at 10:22 am | Reply

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