Monthly Archives: October 2012

2012 Technology And Restaurants

photo_915_20060125-450x300We’re nearing 2013. In movie time, we’re two years away from the iconic flying hoverboards of Back To The Future.

The movie did get a few things right about our near-future. Japan’s cultural influence is readily apparent in the media (just watch a cartoon made this decade). Holofilms (like Jaws 19) can be equated to the 3D resurgence in films, and “dust-repellent paper” sounds a bit like e-readers. Giant TV screens with 300+ channels that you can video conference with? Got it. Mocking games that actually require you to use your hands? Microsoft Kinect has that figured out.

And yet, Cafe 80s is firmly rooted in the past’s conjecture of the future. We may get a Pepsi Perfect in two years, but it’ll doubtfully sell for $50. Digital waiters in the style of Max Headroom are unlikely. It all seems outdated… like loud cash registers, leather-bound menus, and pen-and-paper toting waiters.

How can the modern restaurant surpass the antiquated future of Back To The Future, all while moving out of the antiquated tradition’s they are stuck with?

Updated Menus

If you’ve ever seen an episode of Restaurant: Impossible, you’ve heard the declarations that large menus are only hurting restaurants. They increase the chance for overstocking on food supplies, error in production, and minimize the chances for standout dishes to make a name for the restaurant. In comparison, many current restaurants are thriving on a small, daily printed menu. See what’s available, or make sure you have certain menus available for certain days, and make a fresh, new, single-page menu each day. If you’ve got a restaurant with a chalkboard or the like, you don’t even need to print a list; just write it up on the wall. If you have a sit-down restaurant, these single-page menus occasionally become a collectible item, a more personalized item, and constantly get people in the door to see what’s new on the menu. If you can afford it, some restaurants have even made their menus digital with the preponderance of iPads; a wine list on the iPad is an interactive and, admittedly exquisite, way to display wines.

New Payments

With Square and other credit card readers going into the iPhone, iPad, and Android worlds, the entire purchase system can be revived. Invariably, cash will have to be accepted, whether it be through tips or just people who avoid the world of credit cards. A shift to these digital ways of handling things will clear up space in the restaurant, make things easier on your invoices and such, and allow yourself to go mobile; instead of making a waiter get a card, walk away, and come back with a physical receipt, they can just bring the device to the table, swipe it there, and let the consumer sign off. They won’t worry about their credit card being copied or stolen, as everything’s in front of view.

Get Social

Twitter, Yelp, Facebook; these services did not exist when many modern restaurants opened up. They’re great ways to spread word about the restaurant, and for someone willing to put a little bit of side work into the process, they can have huge payouts. Try a Twitter-exclusive coupon, keep an eye on Yelp reviews, and let people become fans of you on Facebook. These get your name out there, and justify people signing up for advertisements of their own accord. Additionally, this is a great chance to hear feedback.

Take A Side On Cellphones

The turnabout of the advancement of technology is that everyone has a cellphone, and are invariably disruptive with them. Taking pictures of food for social networks is usually a good promotional device, but distract people from actually eating the food. Long phone calls can additionally disrupt the dining, and people on phone while ordering is just rude to the staff. Some restaurants have found success in banning cell phones, offering a discount if patrons leave their cell phone at the door, and so forth. Pick a side, whatever works for you, but know that it’ll have ramifications.

Food Planning For Emergencies

photo_6752_20080814-399x300With Hurricane Sandy and the legendary “Frankenstorm” shackling the Eastern seaboard in their houses, with chances of flooding, power outages, and the like disrupting daily life, the simple concept of feeding yourself becomes questionable. No take out, and unlikely to actually drive out to some place for food, one must look to their home for full meals, and in many cases, you may be restricted from cooking food and keeping food cold. What can you stock up on to keep healthy?

Liquids

Water, obviously, should always be your highest priority. Keep some water in simple containers, in case your water supply is cut off. Fill up sports bottles, glasses (but keep them covered), and mugs and such to ensure you have water for free. Additionally, water bottles purchased from a store may cost a bit more than “free,” but it’s a safe way to keep water around. In addition to water, you may want to stock up on some drinks like apple juice for a bit of nutrition. If you think you’ll be bored and not have to worry about your safety, liquor and beer is a good time-waster, but unhealthy. You may need some alcohol to clean wounds if things get bad, after all.

Bars

Simple energy, trail mix, and cereal bars are great ways to pack in some calorie-dense, largely healthy, and self-contained packaged snacks. In case things get hairy, keeping one of these on your person could definitely help out.

Dry Food

There’s a whole world of cereal (yes, you can eat cereal without milk), breads, meats (stay to the dried ones, such as beef jerky), and more that require no preparation. Pasta, beans, and rice usually require cooking, despite being healthy. Soups are, likewise, at the whims of heating (unless you don’t mind eating cold soup). Frozen food may or may not be edible, and if power goes out, you might want to finish off some things before others. Don’t eat the raw frozen chicken, but indulge a bit in the ice cream.

Veggies and Fruits

Hopefully you won’t be stuck in a prolonged situation of relying on your food storages, but fruits and veggies will go bad; make sure they’re eaten early on to build up strength and take advantage of them when you can.

Animals

No, don’t turn to your animals for sustenance. Make sure your pet friends are stocked up on food as well.

Power-packing

If you’re looking for the densest food to keep you going, peanut butter offers a pack of protein and encourages weight gain, while a traditional chocolate bar is calorie-dense enough to power some up.

Starbucks Offering Leather Cup Sleeves For Charity

cups-300x208Once again, Japan gets all the cool stuff.

If you’ve been to Starbucks at any point for a hot drink, you’ve undoubtedly received your coffee in a paper sleep; if it’s exceptionally hot, the barista may have slid it into another cup to protect your hand, but the paper sleeve is ubiquitous with Starbucks.

Designed by Loewe (no, not the American hardware company Lowe’s), limited-edition luxury leather sleeves will be available as part of a charity program. Aiming at helping earthquake and tsunami victims (from last March), the sleeves will be released in a limited amount on November 14th. Six different colors, red, blue, yellow, orange, pink, and black, will run for a minimum donation of 1,000 yen (about US $12.50), Rocket News 24 reports.

Additionally, a new blend of Costa Rican coffee, labeled Starbucks Special Reserve, will come out at the same time. Sounds like it’d be a great thing to pour into a paper cup surrounded by another great thing.

Ready to help some people out and have a nice leather grip on your coffee?