by Lisa Banks

Sydney hotel puts iPads in restaurant

Jun 08, 2010
E-commerce Services

Rydges Hotel in North Sydney has rolled out ten iPads in its restaurant for an interactive food ordering system that places orders directly to the kitchen.

The hotel’s Mundo Global Tapas Bar is using the iPads with a new application dubbed MenuPad, an interactive food ordering system.

Rydges’ Sydney general manager Craig Simpson told CIO most restaurants try and produce their menus in house.

“Our menus looked professionally designed and beautiful. The catch was, if you wanted to make a slight change, there was a ten day lead time and it became very expensive,” Simpson said.

Labelling himself a self confessed nerd, Simpson said he was aware of a number of different tablet devices on the market but said the iPad’s design lent itself well to the hotel’s environment.

“You have a look at some of the Windows applications floating around and they aren’t much chop. There was nothing else you’d walk up to a table with with pride and take an order with or alternatively hand it over to a customer. Other devices are always very industrial.”

Ovum analyst Tim Renowden predicts this may change in the future, with Android growing in popularity.

“The recent growth in Android’s smartphone market share, the growing appeal of Android devices comparable to competitors, and the likely emergence of Android-based tablets early in the second half of 2010 indicate that Android will be the second choice for tablet application developers,” Renowden said in a statement.

Simpson said apart from the last minute delivery of the ten iPads to the hotel on the day of its launch, there were few obstacles in the way of implementation. He also said he would recommend the use of the iPad to CIOs.

“There were next to no hurdles. MenuPad was incredibly flexible and understood the business came first and the technology needed to fit around it,” he said.

“The only obstacle was on our website, the design looks like you’re turning a page and that’s the only thing we couldn’t get into the application.”

While North Sydney is the only Rydges Hotel in Australia to use the iPad MenuPad system, Simpson predicts this may change.

“For the moment, it’s only in our restaurant in North Sydney so it’s only being used in this capacity. That could potentially change,” he said. “There’s a wealth of ideas and it’s just about working out what’s feasible and what we can get on the ground.”