Pros and Cons of Tabletop Entertainment at Sit Down Restaurants

Tabletop entertainment service is a relatively new concept for the restaurant industry. It’s seen a surge in popularity in the restaurant industry, beginning as small tabletop terminals for order and payment convenience. 

These terminals have evolved beyond these essential functions, providing audio and video entertainment options to diners. This allows customers to have their meals and their favorite entertainment options, creating a more enjoyable experience.

Despite the options tabletop entertainment provides, is it the best option to go for? Tabletop entertainment options are an added luxury and may not be cost-effective for all restaurants. If you’re unsure whether you should go for tabletop entertainment options for your business, this article will help you decide.    

Pro: Entertained Guests Spend More

The most significant incentive to go for tabletop entertainment technology is that it brings in more revenue by incentivizing customers to spend more. By enhancing the satisfaction level of customers leads to a healthy revenue boost. If you’re still doubtful, here are official stats to back this claim:

  • Seventy-three percent of customers think that the latest technology improves their dining experience.
  • According to this year’s National Restaurant Association report, 35 percent of diners actively look for eateries that implement the latest entertainment technology.
  • According to an independent Nielsen Audio study, customers playing bingo game software games on tabletop tablets tend to spend 21 percent more on average.
  • Seventy-eight percent of limited-service restaurants confirm that using the latest technology provides a competitive advantage, according to this year’s National Restaurant Association report.
  • With the COVID-19 restrictions in place, you can no longer sit customers at full capacity anymore, so it makes sense that you should incentivize customers to spend more to compensate.

Con: Eating with Screens Can Be Unfavorable for Children

Tabletop entertainment options can catch children and toddlers’ attention, making it an attractive option for many parents who don’t want to spend most of the time continually managing their kids in a dinner outing. Many parents and health professionals are also against habituating children to eat while staring at a screen. Their objection’s core reasoning is that if a child gets accustomed to eating passively, they won’t develop a good appetite due to not focusing on the meal. 

Suppose your potential customers fall under this category. In that case, tabletop entertainment options will turn them off, potentially costing you revenue loss equivalent to a full family dinner for each customer who feels that way.

Pro: Can Make for a More Fun Experience

At its core, tabletop entertainment tries to create a more fun experience for customers, and most customers consider this factor after evaluating the food quality of a restaurant. Currently, the most popular tabletop entertainment options are tablets using cloud-based POS systems for restaurants

By providing entertainment options that promote communal engagement, you can create a fun and engaging atmosphere for your restaurant. When your establishment has a reputation for being fun and serving good food, people will actively seek your place.

Aside from enhancing customer enjoyment, the tabletop entertainment terminals also compile valuable data that you can use to improve your operations and service. This data will also help you identify current trends as well.      

Con: Tablets Can’t Replace Servers

Despite its many advantages, one thing tabletop tablets cannot do is replace servers altogether. They can help improve customer experience, but they’re just terminals at the end of the day. They cannot interact with customers the way human waiters can or understand the nuance of customer interactions. As a result, an entertainment tablet always falls short of what a server does.

For starters, a tabletop tablet might be convenient for one or two customers per table. When a large party comes in to dine, processing multiple family members’ orders through one terminal diminishes customer experience. A waiter can easily handle these kinds of situations proactively while answering customer queries. A tabletop tablet cannot ascertain whether a customer has had too much to drink. A  waiter can and will prevent the customer from doing anything unpleasant.

Evolve Your Business with the Latest Technology

Sustaining a restaurant business with limited seating restrictions is extremely tough- thousands of restaurants and diners worldwide have already closed shop. The best you can do at this moment is incentivizing customers to spend more. Depending on your customer demographic and economic situation, you should go for it if it’s viable.