Applebee’s to introduce tablets to its tables

One of the largest casual dining chains will soon allow its customers to dine digitally.

Applebee’s plans to install 100,000 E la Carte Presto tablets on every table and barstool in its restaurants by the end of the year.

For more than two years, Applebee’s has tested the efficiency of the tablets within 30 restaurants.

The restaurant found that having the tablets on each table reduced table turn time. It also encouraged customers to spend more on appetizers and leave bigger tips.

Stan Smith, Applebee’s manager of communications, said he believes the tablets will not only benefit the waiters, but the customers as well.

“I’m sure you can relate to finishing your meal and waiting for the check and then having to wait for the server to process your meal,” Smith said. “With this technology, the most immediate benefit is allowing our servers and our bartenders to focus on the value add aspect of the job, getting the food out faster, answering questions and processing drink orders more quickly.”

Ashley Carter, a third-year social work student from Orlando, said she thinks the tablets will make her experience at Applebee’s better.

“When Tallahassee has a big game, us college students flood to Applebee’s,” Carter said. “It’s crowded, we’re hungry and service can sometimes be slower than I want. So if these tablets will help with time, I’m all for it.”

According to Smith, the tablets will allow guests to order additional drinks, appetizers, play games and pay for their checks. As time progresses, video streaming, music and social media interaction with Applebee’s active Facebook community will be added.

“The tablets make it easier for our servers to do their job,” Smith said. “They’re certainly not a replacement for our team members. In fact, they will supplement the value add of bartending and cooking, even in terms of eliminating a pay point.”

Applebee’s is not the first to put tablets on its tables. In September, Chili’s announced it would be placing Ziosk tablets in about 800 restaurants by March.

While at a Chili’s in Dallas,Crystal Baxter, a fourth-year nursing student from Gainesville, enjoyed her experience using tablets.

“The tablets really did help,” Baxter said. “I didn’t have to look around wondering who my waiter was and then try to flag him down.”

DineEquity Inc., Applebee’s parent company, reported that it is considering launching similar tablets at IHOP locations as well.

According to Smith, the tablets are expected to arrive in Tallahassee by mid-November. The tablets will have a 7-inch screen, which can be compared to‘s Kindle Fire.

Carter believes the new tablets will keep tables turning at Applebee’s.

“These tablets are going to really put Applebee’s over the curve,” Carter said. “They have great drink specials, two for