iPads on the menu as airport restaurateur goes hi-tech

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Nationwide restaurant operator OTG is deploying more than 7,000 third-generation iPads at its eateries located in three international air hubs after recognizing a strong demand for entertainment in the normally staid airport environment.

The firm is turning a year-and-a-half-long pilot program into a working business model complete with centralized device management and proprietary apps that allow customers to use Apple's iPad to order food, track flights, play games and surf the web. There's even a "help" button to call wait staff over to your table.

OTG CEO Rick Blatstein believes that the rollout is the largest consumer deployment of iPads in the world and is only bested by Apple itself in the Mac maker's retail outlets.

"We're starting with seven plus thousand rolling out," Blatstein told AppleInsider. "But as we continue to roll out I expect it to be in the tens of thousands and maybe in excess of 100,000 in the coming years."

The company is currently replacing the test program's first-generation iPads with current models and so far about 400 of an expected 2,000 units have been rolled out at restaurants in New York's LaGuardia Airport. Within the next 18 months an additional 2,500 tablets will be deployed at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport while another 2,500 are slated for installation at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

According to Blatstein, the iPad is the perfect travel companion for airport-goers as many people are already familiar with Apple's iOS.

"They're fun, they're comfortable to work with and now with the [Retina Display], the screen quality is spectacular," the chief executive said of the iPad. "It's a natural."

OTG's system currently uses a suite of custom software to bring the "iPad experience" to the airport, including an app that works in the background to constantly update travelers with information regarding their flights.

OTG
OTG's proprietary iPad app suite. | Source: OTG


All devices run a per-use security system that clears device history with a click of the home button, affording users protected web access to check bank accounts, Facebook profiles and other sensitive data. The network also sports a central management feature that can push out new firmware and update menu items across OTG's vast network within minutes.

Future app plans include a storefront to purchase various items like travel pillows and headphones that would be immediately available upon checkout.

Blatstein also mentioned that his company's iPad deployment could be a boon for indie app makers, noting that OTG is on the lookout for developers to create software for its installed customer base.

"We certainly welcome indie app makers," Blatstein said, adding "everybody starts somewhere and lots of people have wonderful, wonderful ideas so we would certainly welcome them and put it in front of our customers."

The apps would indeed have a showcase as the installation is designed to put the customer directly in front of the iPad, which can be taken off a custom stand much like product displays at the Apple Store. Originally, the device was fixed in place but feedback from testers during the pilot phase found the implementation clunky.

OTG Layout
Floor layout of an OTG restaurant with deployed iPads. | Source: OTG


While the initial 7,000+ unit rollout won't be complete for over a year, Blatstein envisions a time when every seat at every OTG restaurant will have an iPad. Completing the picture will be AC outlets with USB ports to charge portable devices while customers eat and lounge.

"No more sitting on floors like we've always done to try and charge up our devices," Blatstein quips. "You can sit at a bar; sit at a table and charge your device. You can work on the iPad and really enjoy yourself. Get your time back."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    It's amazing how many people don't realize that the iPad is just a [I]toy[/I]¡
  • Reply 2 of 24
    maccentricmaccentric Posts: 263member
    Beleagured iDevice maker Apple is doomed.
  • Reply 3 of 24
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member


    A toy?  And so many are gonna use it for what?  US Air Force uses iPad to replace large flight bags full of manuals and books.  Hmm.  Nice toy.

  • Reply 4 of 24
    hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 753member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post


    A toy?  And so many are gonna use it for what?  US Air Force uses iPad to replace large flight bags full of manuals and books.  Hmm.  Nice toy.



    I'm pretty sure Solipsism was being sarcastic. Read some of his previous posts in case it's not obvious.

  • Reply 5 of 24
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

    I'm pretty sure Solipsism was being sarcastic. Read some of his previous posts in case it's not obvious.


     


    A lot of people can't see (or just don't recognize) the sarcasm punctuation.

  • Reply 6 of 24


    wish I had an iPad where I had to update the B-52 Dash 1 manuals (3 foot stack of paper) in 1974!!!

  • Reply 7 of 24
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    A lot of people can't see (or just don't recognize) the sarcasm punctuation.

    I thought that plus italicized would makes it more clear. Also, while sarcasm/irony can be hard to discern in text form (which is why that punctuation needs to catch on) I've interacted with tylerk36 enough times that I'm surprised he didn't' pick up on it.
  • Reply 8 of 24
    normmnormm Posts: 526member


    I wonder if this will seem silly in a couple of years, when all the travelers already have their own iPad with them.

  • Reply 9 of 24
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member


    I already have my iPad with me when I travel and also wireless wifi, but this is a good thing for those people who don't own iPads for whatever reason. It's also good that they supply power outlets right there on the counter, so people can charge their various electronic devices. I bet that this will also lead to more people buying their own iPads, because after they try them out, they're going to want their own.


     


    Can you imagine walking into a restaurant that was full of Android tablets? Seriously, I'd bolt straight for the exit, if I were unfortunate enough to have that happen to me. If a place is so cheap that they skimp on their tablets, can you imagine what they must be skimping on when it comes to their food? For health and safety reasons, I'd wisely not eat at any such place. All of the lag and jerkiness on the Android screen would most likely make me very nauseous and I'd probably have to throw up right there in the middle of the restaurant. 

  • Reply 10 of 24
    chabigchabig Posts: 621member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by NormM View Post


    I wonder if this will seem silly in a couple of years, when all the travelers already have their own iPad with them.



    Will those customer iPads be loaded with the restaurant's menu and ordering software?

  • Reply 11 of 24
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    normm wrote: »
    I wonder if this will seem silly in a couple of years, when all the travelers already have their own iPad with them.

    Even if Apple has an effective 100% of the tablet market most people in any given market are still not going to have iPads at any one time.
  • Reply 12 of 24


    Staid, you say?  What airports have you been hanging out in?  "Sedate, respectable, and unadventurous" doesn't describe the loud, drunk, sunburnt passengers I seem to encounter of late. :)

  • Reply 13 of 24
    cvaldes1831cvaldes1831 Posts: 1,832member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by chabig View Post


    Will those customer iPads be loaded with the restaurant's menu and ordering software?



     


    Nah, by that time, one would hope that iOS would have some sort of proximity-triggered option to temporarily install a secure restaurant menu app, whether it be HTML5 or something else.


     


    Remember, handing over your credit card to a waitperson is probably the most dangerous restaurant action a patron can take.

  • Reply 14 of 24
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Nah, by that time, one would hope that iOS would have some sort of proximity-triggered option to temporarily install a secure restaurant menu app, whether it be HTML5 or something else.

    Remember, handing over your credit card to a waitperson is probably the most dangerous restaurant action a patron can take.
    Makes me think of these...


    346

    and

    http://neversaidaboutrestaurantwebsites.tumblr.com
  • Reply 15 of 24
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    $3.5 million on iPads. Awesome.

    Never seen one of these restaurants- I hope its not finger food. That'd be gross.
  • Reply 16 of 24
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    It's amazing how many people don't realize that the iPad is just a toy¡


    I don't think you can justify that statement.   They aren't commonly sold at toy stores and they aren't specifically meant for children.  Yes, you can play games on them, but then again you can play games on ALL Windows, OS X, Linux based computer systems, so then all computers would also be considered a toy.  Do you think that all desktop and laptop computers are toys?


     


    It's a mobile computing device. Plain and simple.

  • Reply 17 of 24
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by drblank View Post


    I don't think you can justify that statement.   They aren't commonly sold at toy stores and they specifically meant for children.  Yes, you can play games on them, but then again you can play games on ALL Windows, OS X, Linux based computer systems, so then all computers would also be considered a toy.  Do you think that all desktop and laptop computers are toys?



     


    It's not about what you can do with it, it's about what you can't.

  • Reply 18 of 24
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post


    I'm pretty sure Solipsism was being sarcastic. Read some of his previous posts in case it's not obvious.



    Maybe he/she is just being jealous since maybe they can't afford one or they bought another brand of toy.

  • Reply 19 of 24
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member


    It wouldn't surprise me if we saw these things crop up in hotel rooms at certain hotels.....

  • Reply 20 of 24
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,180member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


     


     


    Can you imagine walking into a restaurant that was full of Android tablets? Seriously, I'd bolt straight for the exit...



    haha damn right! If their tablets are second rate it's a given the food sourcing is too :)

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