One year and more than 15 million sold units later, Apple’s iPad continues to penetrate both the consumer and commercial markets. In the hospitality sector, early adopters such as InterContinental Hotels & Resorts (www.ihg.com) were quick to identify the operational benefits that could be achieved through the use of these devices, whether it was from efficiencies gained by equipping their concierge teams with the devices, to offering guests a new in-room, self-service option. As Apple continues to refine the iPad, hospitality operators and vendors alike are finding new uses for it.
Catch Restaurant at Hotel Casa del Mar (www.hotelcasadelmar.com), for instance, partnered with Incentient (www.incentient.com) to create a custom application that enables patrons to navigate its collection of more than 200 wines. Meanwhile, Stacked: Food Well Built will place iPads atop 60 tables when its first restaurant opens in May. Diners will use them to look at meal options; design their own burgers, pizzas and salads; and, if they want, use the iPads to pay for the meals.
While Catch Restaurant and Stacked are focused on leveraging iPads for guest-facing functions, a number of vendors have introduced solutions that are tailored for employees and back-of-house operations. BirchStreet Systems (www.birchstreet.net), for instance, now offers an application that takes the company’s recipe management application from the desktop to the kitchen. Kitchen staff can use the solution to view photographs of food preparation instructions and edit recipes. For their part, point-of-sale (POS) provider Squirrel Systems (www.squirrelsystems.com) launched Squirrel Professional for Apple mobile devices at the 2011 International Restaurant Foodservice Show of New York. Squirrel Professional is a POS solution that allows restaurants, bars and hotels to manage their food and beverage operations from stationary terminals as well as mobile tablets and handhelds like the iPad.