Yesterday I came back from a trip to Europe, so last night we decided to have a family dinner. We couldn’t decide where to go (too much choice in the Hongmei Lu area & some of the best places had no tables available), but when I walked back from a visit to the wine shop on Saturday afternoon I got a flyer from a Japanese sushi/sashimi & BBQ place. I had been there once before and I remembered it was pretty good, so after a phone call to check if they would have 2 kids chairs available we decided to go.
The food was excellent indeed, esp. the barbecued beef, but what was even more remarkable was their menu: they used the iPad as a menu for their restaurant! A great idea, because the pictures they took of their food looked much better on the iPad screen than in a regular menu. I had seen the iPod Touch in hotels as a directory before (e.g. in the Upper House in Hong Kong), but of course the iPad is a much better device for this.
The app was quite basic, mainly pictures and prices, but of course it gave me a business idea right away. It should be fairly simple to develop an app that makes the user experience even better, for example by being able to choose the food in the app (we still needed a waiter) and show an overiew of everything you ordered.
Or go even one step further and let clients log in with Facebook Connect, Twitter or a Chinese non-blocked service, so they can see what they ordered last time. Show stats of the most popular food today, this week and this month, and give people the chance to log in at home to leave a review that appears in the iPad app. I am sure many restaurants would love an app like this, and I am convinced that 10 years from now something like this will be quite standard.
During the dinner I realized that it was no coincidence that this restaurant had an iPad, because they were quite innovative with the presentation of their dishes as well. See for example the picture below of the way the sashimi was presented. It looked very cool and the kids loved it as well!
Someone asked for the name & address of the restaurant in the comments, I found their website: http://www.gudumami.cn/en/shop/cs08127/index.html Address: 3211 Hongmei Road, 3/F