I love how innovative restaurateurs continually try to improve the dining-out experience. I used to frequent a place in New York City that had a sushi-riding conveyor belt that ran throughout the small setting, carrying an unending stream of small plates filled with nigiri and maki to hungry diners. No waiting — you just pop in and grab whatever tickles your fancy. While common in Japan, it’s certainly not something you see every day in the States.
But if you’re both a foodie and an iPad fan, then Atlanta, GA, may have everyone else beat: If you’re ever in the area, there’s a pit stop you need to make, to a music-inspired restaurant called Do (pronounced like “dough”). This chic artistic establishment has replaced its paper menus with Apple iPads that allow the diner to peruse the dishes, order items, and call server attention. They even act as make-shift jukeboxes piping music for each party.
Do is tricked out on Apple mobile: Not only have iPads run amuck in the dining room, sitting on stands at each table, but they’re also mounted on the bathroom walls where mirrors should be. (Probably with reflective screen protectors.) Sitting in the bar area? Then the owners will furnish some iPod Touches for you, so you can order up your spirits and nibbles. And of course, all the devices connect to a customized POS (point-of-sale) system, to make transactions easy breezy.
Whether you’re an iFankid or no, it’s hard to argue with how cool it is to see a restaurant embrace consumer tech like this. While Do isn’t the first dining establishment to use them, it certainly does go for the gusto when it comes to comprehensive integration.
Hmmm… Suddenly I’m imagining a conveyor-belt-plus-tablet scenario. Imagine ordering off an interactive touch menu, then being served by a conveyor that doesn’t strand you while he takes a cigarette break or let your food sit under a hot lamp while she blabs to her sister about her wrong-headed boyfriend, or whatever. Well, that would just be neat, wouldn’t it? Sort of bridges the gap until that Star Trek replicator finally gets here.