A great deal of press is given to e-books replacing printed books, newspapers, magazines, and even comics. But as a New York Times article points out, e-reading devices have also begun making inroads on some less traditional forms of printed media—such as restaurant menus.
A number of fine dining restaurants have begun replacing their traditional menus and wine catalogs with iPads equipped with the information in digital form. Establishments like them because they can incorporate multimedia in ways that old media couldn’t, and can easily be updated without necessitating an entire new printing; customers like them because they are interactive and easily searchable, and can contain far more information than the old printed form to help them make a decision.
“If they build one that can open up a bottle of wine, I’m going to be scared to death,” said Fred Dame, one of the country’s 105 master sommeliers and president of the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation. “When I saw this thing and saw the applications, I said, ‘Oh, man, that’s the end of the print shop.’ ”
Restaurants trying the devices out have also seen their wine sales increase significantly, even converting beer and cocktail drinkers who spend time with the iPad.
Of course, buying dozens of iPads for a restaurant is a considerable investment, so it’s not something that every establishment is going to be able to do. But as tablet prices fall considerably, so will the barriers to adopting cheaper devices to do much the same thing. And it’s also possible that restaurants will start making their menus available as downloadable apps so that people can use them on their own devices.
(Found via Tim Carmody at Wired.com.)