Photo: Omar 2080, Flickr
"It puts the guest in constant contact with the server," James Whyte, general manager of an Orange City Applebee's, tells the Orlando Sentinel.
The system, designed by ESP Digital Media, based in Charlotte, N.C., was first installed two years ago in Tampa Applebee's franchises owned by Casual Restaurant Concepts, Inc. It is being piloted in other markets, the paper said.
Casual Restaurant Concepts, based in Tampa, owns Applebee's franchises across Central Florida. The company didn't respond to Slashfood's request for comment.
The tabletop systems allows staff to communicate and also lets customers to fill out surveys which managers can respond to immediately, the Sentinel said.
The system is activated when a host seats a table and swipes a watch against the small black box. A server is notified by vibrating watch and has 60 seconds to arrive at the table or a manager is alerted. Managers are also informed when customers press the button several times.
Click here to see what Slashfood's waitress thinks of the computer.
"The idea that we don't have to wait, we don't have to flag somebody down, that's awesome," Orange City, Fla., Applebee's customer Jan Higgins told the paper.
Server Cari Beauvais told the newspaper customers used the system more when it was introduced than they do now. "It was a new toy."
Applebee's corporate office, in Lenexa, Kan., did not respond to Slashfood's inquiry on whether the system would be making an appearance in restaurants nationwide.
Have you tried this new waitress computer? What was it like? Let us know in the comments below.