December 26, 2014
Technology in restaurants growing across Tucson
By: Keaton Thomas
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - More and more restaurants are adding technology to their menus and a Tucson couple took advantage of it at one of their favorite local eateries.
One year ago Mike and Monica were playing Buzztime trivia at Native Grill and Wings when a special trivia question popped up in their game.
It said "Mcubed, will you marry me? - Zolna".
"I got on my knee, told her to look at the screen, pulled out the ring, and asked her to marry me," said Mike Zolna.
"Then I started crying," said Monica Zolna.
Monica answered "yes" to that trivia question.
Interactive trivia like Buzztime has been around for a while but it is not the only tech you will see in Tucson eateries any more. For instance, Chili's restaurants are serving up tablets at their tables. The tablets have entertainment options, but also let you order some food and pay your bills from the tablets.
Inside the table at another Tucson restaurant, is more technology. Just Desserts and Coffee created "smart tables". The restaurant developed the tables so customers could eventually order food from the tables. Right now, these "smart tables" are essentially touch screens built into tables with entertainment and games for customers along with the full menu.
"I see it as the way it will be in the future," said Linda Collins, co-owner of the store.
Some could argue that the future is already in your pockets though. There are dozens of smart-phone applications restaurants use. For example, Yelp can be used to find reviews, OpenTable is used to make a reservation, and GrubHub allows you to order food from your phone for delivery or pick-up.
All this begs the question: will servers keep their jobs? Just Dessert's and Coffee has an answer.
"We're not replacing servers," says Collins. "We do have servers at night because we recognize people might have questions and we want people to answer those questions."
Servers also help customers adjust their orders. Collins also says technology in restaurants can help people get in and out of the store quickly and efficiently.
Back to the newly-wed Zolnas, maybe some other technology will help another couple tie the knot.