Supervisor: Jonathan Diehl
Evaluation of Interactive Tablets for Improving Customer Service in Restaurants
As tablets with touch input have become widely disseminated over the last few years, more and more industries make use of these devices. Upscale restaurants started to introduce tablets like the iPad as digital menus in order to replace traditional paper menus. By being able to include more media featuring the quality of available dishes and ideas behind them, and by designing the decision-making process more interactive, those digital menus aim at improving the customer experience. But while there exist many guidelines dealing with the design of paper menus in the hospitality industry, the development and especially benefits of digital menus have not been analyzed in-depth.
In this thesis, we analyze existing research about interactive devices for restaurant guests, and describe solutions already used in restaurants around the world. Two digital and two paper menus were developed in a user-centered design process, containing different types and amounts of content. The digital menus were implemented as iPad applications based on web technologies. A structure similar to paper menus, but using benefits of digital systems such as page hierarchies, video content and multitouch input, was chosen for the iPad menus as it showed a good usability even for unexperienced users.
The results of a conducted user study showed differences in the perceived quality of the restaurant and dishes, but no significant differences in price estimations for the items on the menus. The averaged time needed to choose one or several dishes was similar for the paper menus and the iPad menu without included videos. Using digital menus, long textual information was accepted, while it was perceived as disturbing in paper menus.
Based on the results of the user study and on interviews with professionals from the field, we provide guidelines for the design of interactive menus for upscale restaurants.