I have been thinking about technology of late, and how it impacts our lives in almost every area. It wakes us up, it drives us to work, it powers our working – it entertains us for hours in a multitude of ways.
We play with it, we listen to it, surf it, watch it and talk through it. Technology is completely and utterly part of our lives and increasing its dominance every day. That is of course, unless you go out to eat...
This got me thinking again – is this the very reason that we like restaurant spaces? Because they seduce us into a world away from our tablets and laptops, from our consoles and satellites? It’s a very interesting theory. Menus are still printed, signs still written and orders scribbled. OK, the tills are technology but when did a good till make your night complete? Exactly.
The reason for all this thinking was some work I have been doing recently on this very subject. I have been working with an operator of mainstream restaurants and designing something called an active pad for them. Essentially it’s an iPad for every customer that fully interacts, informs and interests the guest in all things food and drink, plus extra info, related to the brand.
In trials this has seen enormous polarisation of opinion – meteoric and stratospheric interest from everyone who has seen it, used it and played with it…under the age of 60!
Over 60 and it is as you would have thought – conversation, laughter and human contact. Under 60 and it’s about enriching the dining experience with ‘stuff’ to do. To minimise the wait times, fill the break times and supply stimulating brain content.
Interestingly, both camps were happy to completely accept the others’ opinions. There was no division. One group were very happy in Luddite-ville with paper and print and the other? Well, too busy to notice!
Technology and its relationship with the dining experience is fascinating and my new avenue of adventure. Next time you’re in a restaurant, take a look and see where it can fit. Trust me, we could be looking at a very, very big changer here...
Agree with Aidan or think he’s got it all wrong? Join the debate at www.twitter.com/aidanjkeane. Aidan Keane is the larger-than-life founder and creative director of Keane Brands, one of the world’s specialist design houses based in London, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur. Go to www.keanebrands.com