Note to Rudy Rudes who have a habit of playing with their smartphones and tablets at restaurant tables: You might soon want to steer clear of Applebee’s on Tuesdays.
The casual-dining chain appears to be hatching a plan to ban tech inside its 1,860 nationwide restaurants, every week, only on the day after Monday, the one that’s usually reserved for awesome taco deals. Tuesday.
According to a recent NBC Today Money report, the Kansas City-based company recently applied to trademark an initiative titled “No tech Tuesday.” The specifics of the wet blanket (but also sort of refreshing) move aren’t known just yet.
Don’t worry, gadget gazers, you’ll still be able to stare at your precious screens, in all their various forms, at its tables on all the other days of the week. Phew, Tuesdays will be the only bummer for now.
Bear in mind that it could’ve been worse, the likes of August First Bakery & Cafe in Burlington, Vt., which, like so many other dining establishments these hyperconnected days, recently wholesale banned all laptops and Wi-Fi inside its walls.
Meanwhile, Applebee’s is somewhat hypocritically steamrolling ahead with its campaign to deploy 100,000 Intel-powered E la Carte “Presto” tablets at its locations in 49 states, perhaps in a bid to play catch-up with rival Chili’s, which has already added more than 45,000 Ziosk tablets to its tables. If Applebee’s reaches its goal, there will be one tablet for every one of its U.S. tables by the end of this year. (The company also has restaurants in some 14 other countries and one U.S. territory.)
Applebee's guests will be able to use the tabletop tablets -- electronic waiters, if you will, that people tend to drop more cash on than they would when served by the human kind -- to order more food and drinks, pay their checks and play games and music.
Other features will be added to tablets in the coming 18 months, including gift card sales, social media interaction (with Applebee’s ridiculously popular Facebook Page, of course) music and video streaming and more games, according to a press release on the rollout.
Bottom line: Applebee’s customers will soon be using tech, the very thing it plans on banning once a week, at its tables. Its own highly branded tech. Every day. But diners won’t be allowed to touch their own personal tech at its tables on Tuesdays. Sends a conflicting message that makes about as much sense as Applebee’s baffling slogan, “See you tomorrow.”
Huh? It doesn’t make sense. Not really. Not unless Applebee’s is betting people undistracted by their own gadgets will love up its fancy new tablets instead, to rack up bigger bills. Who knows? Officials at the 30-year-old company aren’t saying how or if its tablets will play into its expected upcoming Tuesday tech ban.
Once the moratorium goes into effect, Applebee’s might not see techies who lose their appetites at the thought of putting down their electronics while dining out. Not tomorrow. Not Tuesday. Maybe not ever. Because no one likes to be told what to do, especially not the customer. They’re always right.