Hello, Ziosk!


Last night we were greeted at Chili’s by Ziosk, the tablet prominently displayed on the table. The pictured specials offered additional information about menu items with a touch of the screen. In addition, guests order drinks and dessert by interacting with Ziosk instead of the waiter or waitress.

Beyond ordering options, Ziosk tempts diners to spend $.99 to play games or read USA Today at no charge. We didn’t play any games, but tried unsuccessfully to check out the newspaper. Clicking the USA Today icon resulted in the annoying spinning animation indicating it was loading, but the paper never appeared on the screen. I noticed the same screen on the tablet on the next table so there was obviously a glitch in the system.IMG_1756

The biggest difference we noticed about our service with the addition of Ziosk…much slower. Chili’s usually delivers meals quickly, and in fact, that’s the reason we stopped there for dinner last night. I can’t say for sure Ziosk results in slower service after only one encounter, but I wonder if the delay is intended to give diners time to explore the features of the tablet, perhaps order an extra drink and play some games.

Diners paying with plastic must interact with Ziosk. Our waitress explained the wait staff no longer takes credit or debit cards. They only take cash payments.

The display clearly shows all purchases and offers an option to split the bill, both good things. However, I’d like to offer a word of warning! Be careful with the tip calculator! Sure it’s great to let Ziosk figure the tip. It suggested a 17% tip, but that’s on the total bill. Diners should not be expected to tip on the tax, just the cost of the meal so that should be kept in mind. Ziosk suggested a tip of over $13, yet our dinner cost less than $25. That’s because Ziosk calculates the tip on the total bill, and since we purchased gift cards, the tip was added to the cost of those purchases as well as the dinner. Of course, it’s easy to change the amount of the tip so long as you read all of the information on the screen so diners beware!

Hello, Ziosk! I’m willing to allow you to join me at dinner, but please don’t slow down the service.

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