Olive Garden is putting tablets at their tables starting in May so diners will be able to place their order for drinks, appetizers, and desserts, but servers will continue to take orders for entrees. Customers can browse the menu and see pictures of their food choices on the screen.
All 845 Olive Garden restaurants nationwide will be able to use the seven-inch touch screen tablets to pay and split bills at the table, as well as play games and catch up on the latest news. The tablets also have a card reader for debit and credit card purchases.
Knox News reports that Darden Restaurants have been testing the tablets at a few of Central Florida Olive Gardens for over a year. Because the tests were so positive, Olive Garden will put a Ziosk-brand tablet at every table in all of its Italian-style restaurants. Dining times are faster, tips for servers are higher, and guest satisfaction scores are more favorable.
Olive Garden president Dave George is pleased to offer tablets for customers to use at Olive Garden.
"We've been focused on improving the dining experience at every touch point, and we're excited to give our guests the ability to customize their visit by leveraging the technology of Ziosk's table-top tablets. This additional resource benefits both our guests and our servers, enabling our team members to make more meaningful connections and provide more personalized service."
Olive Garden expects to have the touch screen tablets in place at all restaurants worldwide by the end of the year. Olive Garden, specializing in Italian-American cuisine, is banking on technology to bring customers in and keep them ordering.
Market Watch says guests who use a Ziosk tablet are 10 times more likely to enroll in a restaurant's loyalty club and 30 times more likely to participate in a survey directly on the tablet. This will help Olive Garden learn more about what customers want.
The CEO of Ziosk believes having the tablets at the table will foster a greater dining experience for family and friends. Austen Mulinder says, "We are thrilled to partner with a restaurant that shares our vision for using technology to encourage fun and interaction over a great shared meal."
The Orlando Sentinel reports that most Chili's, some Outbacks, and Applebee's already have tablets for their customers. Some restaurants are in the process of testing tablets for ordering at the counter.
Will having a tablet at your table make a difference in your dining experience at Olive Garden?
[Images via Olive Garden]