So How DO You Tip An iPad Sommelier?

Writer Tony Naylor comments on the increased use of technology in UK restaurants, focusing on wine lists that come to the table on an iPad.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn


What's the Latest Development?

Guardian writer Tony Naylor comments on the Word of Mouth blog about the increasing influence of technology on the UK restaurant experience: Companies are looking to create solutions to the "problems" of inefficiency, which seem to narrow in on restaurant staff. Currently, at several restaurants, the wine catalog is managed by a New York firm and presented to diners on an iPad, saving them the need to interact with an actual sommelier. Naylor puts some of the blame on the patrons: "An electronic wine list is perfect for a country which, on the whole, has limited wine knowledge and where people are useless at asserting themselves in restaurants."

What's the Big Idea?

Naylor admits he's conflicted: On the one hand, he won't use self-service supermarket checkout, but on the other hand, he appreciates that the trauma of choosing the right wine is taken away: "Who wouldn't prefer to browse tasting notes, food-matching suggestions and a price list on an iPad?" However, he concedes that inserting technology into restaurants, while not completely terrible, puts a damper on the experience. "[When] you come across a good waiter...it can transform your night. In the restaurant of 2015, where we sit down and log in to buy our dinner...will something have been lost?"

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

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