Table-top restaurant tech

This new food tech just may help save friendships and over-worked waiters! Introducing the table-top payment system for restaurants.


Can you pass the receipt down here?
Did you get a refill on the wine?
I think Janet and I mainly had the appetizer.
I have cash.
I have a card.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but for me, this is typical of anytime I go out to eat with a large group of people. We are all on limited budgets and have carefully chosen our meals. Two of us ordered water to save a little money. One of us ordered an appetizer telling us all we could share, even though they were the only ones to eat it.

I love going out to eat but dread the splitting of the bill when it’s time to pay. I also hate being the person to tell the poor waiter that we need a bill split 5 ways. What can we do?

Well, thanks to Rajat Suri, founder of E la Carte, we can all take care of the bill ourselves with a touchscreen restaurant tablet. The Presto was designed by Suri and MIT engineers to allow customers to take care of their own orders and payments at restaurants. Restaurant chain Applebee’s has already ordered them to be distributed to their 1800 restaurants. Now you can get your order the way you want it and not have to worry about separate checks. There’s even a game section for waiting or for entertaining your jumpy children.

There’s also the Ziosk, another tabletop device for ordering, paying and yes, even game playing while you wait. Need a refill on your drink? No need to search for the waiter, just order another on the screen. In a hurry for the movies? Pay as soon as you’re ready to go.

As well as saving time for both the customer and waiter, the restaurants have a good chance of increasing food and drink sales when people can just touch a button if they’d like a side or extra drink. I’ve refused dessert or an extra side plenty of times simply because I didn’t want to bother the busy waiter or then have to wait for a forgotten extra.

Currently the technology is mostly in chain restaurants, but there is a high chance of this expanding and may even end up being the new norm in restaurant payment systems. I think once customers and waiters start to experience the benefits of the table-top tablet, this technology has a huge chance of increasing and making all of our lives –and meals – a bit easier.


Heather Jonasson is an authentic Texas girl, avid restaurant goer, and usually orders water to save money. She is the Twitter expert at Feeding the Accelerator. You can follow her at @FeedAccelerator or @heatheraudrey