Interactive Restaurant Technology might be the regular dining-out experience of the future
By Ben Coxworth
August 18, 2014
Tired of the waiter ignoring you? Perhaps you want to know a bit more about the dishes, such as how they're made and what's in them? Well, the Interactive Restaurant Technology (IRT) system might be for you. It replaces human waiters and paper menus with multitouch tables.
Designed by Ukrainian tech firm Kodisoft, IRT allows users to start by choosing a menu language of their choice. It then displays photos and detailed information on all the entrees, drinks and other items. Once they've decided on what they want, diners simply request it via the table's waterproof touchscreen display, and the order is instantly relayed to the kitchen.
Presumably a human server brings the food out to them, although at least one restaurant has experimented with using drones.
While they're waiting for their food to arrive, patrons can use the table to do things like play games, read news, or chat with diners at other tables – not necessarily the most sociable thing to do if you're not alone at the table, admittedly. The company also offers the option of integrating screens on the walls, bar counters or other surfaces into the system, for purposes such as advertising special menu items or drinks.
Other interactive restaurant systems do also exist, although Kodisoft claims that its is unique in that the display occupies the table's entire surface, it's a backlit LED display instead of one that's projected from above, and it allows users to do more than just place orders ... and yes, one of its stated selling features is that it allows restaurant owners to save money by reducing staff.
So far, IRT is in use in two restaurants – Oshi in Cyprus, and Ebony in Dubai. A third restaurant, however, is scheduled to open at an unstated location this November. Among other things, its system will reportedly recognize returning customers when they place their smartphone on the table, and recommend dishes or drinks based on their previous orders.