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Marketing,Restaurants,Wine,Wine Business,Wine Related Products

What are The Pros and Cons of the i-Pad as a Wine Menu?

[I have borrowed this image, which is the property of Erik S. Lesser for the New York Times, which was used to enhance Kevin Sack’s story.]

My friend Paul Rude of Castro Verde, Portugal, just forwarded this story to me that was in the New York Times:

Choosing Wines at the Touch of a Screen, written by KEVIN SACK, Published: September 13, 2010

“At Bone’s, Atlanta’s most venerable steakhouse, a clubby place of oak paneling and white tablecloths, the gold-jacketed waiters now greet diners by handing them an iPad. It is loaded with the restaurant’s extensive wine list, holding detailed descriptions and ratings of 1,350 labels.

“Once patrons make sense of the touch-pad links, which does not take long, they can search for wines by name, region, varietal and price, instantly educating themselves on vintner and vintage.

“Since their debut six weeks ago, the gadgets have enthralled the (mostly male) customers at Bone’s. And to the astonishment of the restaurant’s owners, wine purchases shot up overnight — they were nearly 11 percent higher per diner in the first two weeks compared with the previous three weeks, with no obvious alternative explanation.”

This is fascinating on so many levels:

  • Technology continues to replace human beings for jobs.
  • Give ’em a gadget and they’re gone.
  • Make gadgets at the table acceptably chic, and our culture just changed overnight.
  • Ratings continue to take on importance as the way life should be, as much as many would like to see that change.
  • “…the gadgets have enthralled the (mostly male) customers at Bone’s…”

Okay, one at a time:

Technology continues to replace human beings for jobs.

What I’m about to write is neither right nor wrong, it’s just my observation after a lot of life experiences.

Horse and buggy (although I wasn’t there for that one), replaced by building cars one-by-one, to technological advancements (including my uncle Harold Clarke’s inventing the automatic transmission), to Detroit seeing not only its physical jobs being replaced, but plants moving to other countries because of environmental control issues in the US… Each step of the way, humans replaced.

[SIDEBAR QUESTION: What if we had dealt with our issues here and not sent the jobs to third world countries; where would the US be today in terms of job availabilities and the foothold we had as world industrial leaders? Just askin.’]

Now, you don’t have to engage your sommelier or wait server anymore, asking what he or she thinks about such-and-such wine.

Give ’em a gadget and they’re gone.

With wine sales increasing, this tells me that people are hungry, nay… thirsty, for such distractions/devices, and are willing to do things with them that they’d not do without the gadget. With a restaurant increasing its wine sales overnight, this tells me that this is the present, not the future. Don’t you wish you owned shares in Apple? Did you, and you sold them? Are you kidding me?

Make gadgets at the table acceptably chic, and our culture just changed overnight.

We’ve had to live with and make adjustments to people acquiring cell phones, bringing them to the dining table, and talking over everyone else’s conversations. As it’s evolved, we’ve all become pretty clear that it’s as rude as it was when we were growing up and dining as a family. It appears that about 95 percent of the population have realized how ridiculous that behavior is, and it’s a rare instance to see anyone on the phone in a restaurant anymore. That said, people still sit quietly with their PDAs, and check their emails, see what’s going on on Facebook and Twitter, read the news, check in with Four Square, etc.  Looks like we’ve evolved to bringing our toys to the table, boys and girls.

Ratings continue to take on importance as the way life should be.

Ah yes… Men are still from Mars and women are still from Venus.

  • Men love scores, women love adjectives. Let’s use real life instances…
    • Men watch sports with scores, and the whole game’s determined by numbers (10 to 7)
    • Women watch relationships evolve and the whole program’s determined by words (“he was so loving,” or “he was so unfair”)
  • Men will read the numbers and make a decision, women will read the adjectives and make a decision

“…the gadgets have enthralled the (mostly male) customers at Bone’s…”

“…the gadgets have enthralled the (mostly male) customers at Bone’s…”

I have to ask questions about this one.

  • Is this because the iPads are mostly handed to men first, as has been our custom… Because “he’s” mostly picking up the tab?
  • Is this because more men are drawn toward technology?
    • Right now my Jose is reinstalling Windows in a last ditch effort to keep my main computer away from having its hard drive rebuilt… and I’m thrilled to let him do this, because I’d rather be on my lap top (this morning) writing this blog.
    • I have to admit that technology is really his strength, always has been, and he’s always ahead of me getting into it.

So… there it is… Gadgets continue to take over. More to the point and I’m reiterating – We’re now, as adults, finally able to bring our toys to the table. Too bad my parents aren’t here to witness this one. It would drive them to drink… while they’d have to  choose “what” from their restaurant’s iPad…

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2 Responses to “What are The Pros and Cons of the i-Pad as a Wine Menu?”

  1. Sediment says:

    What about the fact that diners can immediately look up the retail price of the wines on the restaurant’s list, and see what the mark-up is?

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    That is sooooooo great. I hadn’t thought of that one, Sediment.

    Once that’s know, call over the sommelier and ask why there’s such a mark-up. That’s how the wine buyers at a restaurant are now going to be kept busy.

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