Photo: E la Carte
When you think about it, the newfangled gadget that tech startup E la Carte released this week has been sort of a long time coming. It's basically a more rugged version of an iPad that allows you to touch-screen your way through a restaurant menu, order and even pay.
The crotchety misanthrope might ask, "How is it that I've been able to scan and bag my own groceries for years, but still I have to make chit-chat with the waiter at Applebee's?"
Right now, reports our our sister site TechCrunch, only about 20 eateries have the device, mostly in San Francisco and Boston. But E la Carte says it has a long waiting list of restaurant owners eager to try the thing. One reason is because restaurants that have tested it have reported a 10 to 12 percent spike in overall revenue, since E la Carte is great at up-selling. ("Would you like a side salad with that for only $3 more?" Here's a lovely picture of the side salad. All you have to do is press this button.)
And here's a list of other things that the E la Carte reportedly does better than your average 19-year-old server who's apparently more interested in flirting with the dudes at the next table than refilling your Coke: It sends your order directly to the kitchen, so there's no chance of 20 minutes passing only to be told, "Sorry, I forgot to put your order in." It gladly (and without attitude) allows you to split the check every which way you can imagine. And once you've ordered, you can play trivia on it. (Your waiter is probably not going to stick around to ask you what the capital of Delaware is.)
Still, though, don't think that you're going to get out of having to leave a tip. After all, someone still has to bring your food to you. This isn't the Jetson's...yet.