More reasons to be wary of restaurants’ table top touchscreens…

Olive Garden’s unauthorized “table game fee” opened a can of worms.


In yesterday’s post, I whined about Olive Garden’s “profit scheme”: tacking an unauthorized “table game fee” to my bill .

For the gory details and the sleazy marketing “principles” underlying the practice, see Gotcha: Why I won’t go back to Olive Garden …



When I googled “Ziosk” – what Olive Garden calls its devices – I was served links like Restaurant guests sour on Ziosk’s “touch it and you’re charged”  and Olive Garden servers are getting shorted on tips   … they exposed the  dirty underbelly of table top touchscreens.



Let’s start with the servers’ perspective.

Obviously, the main objective of the table top touchscreens is productivity … turning tables over more quickly by speeding  the ordering & bill payment processes  … by cutting the number of order takers / servers required.

Some surviving servers complain that OG is short-changing them on tips … OG admits to some “software glitches” but claims that it’s working to correct a software bug that excludes certain charges from tips’ calculations. Source

And, some servers claim that patrons are tipping them less … perceiving that they (the servers) are doing less work and providing less service.


From the sanitation perspective….

There are hand sanitizers all over the place these days, right?

Most people are more attentive to keeping their hands relatively germ-free.

That is, except at restaurant dining tables, I guess.

There, folks are willing to to run their hands over a table touchscreen – previously fingered by a snot-nosed kid – and then dig right into a bowl of pasta.

Sanitation?  What sanitation?


And, from a privacy perspective

A couple of articles wondered why the tabletop tablets have cameras and micsSource

Of course, OG and Ziosk say that they’d never dream of listening to patrons conversations or recording their antics.

So, why the mics & cameras?

If you’re really concerned with cost-cutting, why not ditch them and save some buckos ?


Bottom line: I’m a fan of technology and disruptive innovation.

But, as one article put it, some aspects of disruption are good …. others, not so much.



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2 Responses to “More reasons to be wary of restaurants’ table top touchscreens…”

  1. John Carpenter Says:

    There are a lot of folks at restaurants with their phones out these days. It might be a better option for Olive Garden to just develop an app for customers phones. Hardware costs reduced to 0. Customers have the option to participate. My bet is Olive Garden would get better data on individual customers. Sanitation is still up in the air however.

  2. All the Olive Garden you can eat … for life! | The Homa Files Says:

    […] More reasons to be wary of restaurants’ table top touchscreens… […]

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