Monday, January 5, 2009

Tree House restaurant & cafe: One of a kind

During my recent trip to Costa Rica, I came across this impressive place by the name of "Tree House restaurant & bar", during my stopover at Monte Verde.

The place struck a chord in me for two reasons. At the very first glance, it was the appearance. The place sure lived up to it's name - a restaurant built around a gigantic Higueròn tree, so placed that you certainly feel as if you're perched in the tree itself. While I enjoyed the setting and the ambiance, the real surprise came when the waiter came over to take our orders.
Contrary to using a conventional sketch-pad, he was punching away to glory on a tiny handheld device. Unable to resist my curiosity, I prodded him on what it was.

Whoa.... It was just an iPod touch! Incredulous - using an ipod to take in orders! The waiter explained how the whole system worked. Every server carried an iPod touch. The restaurant has an internal wifi which hosts an applet to take in orders wirelessly. All the waiter needs to do is connect to the server wirelessly, choose the items from the online menu, and voilĂ  - your order is through. What's more cool is this - all the drink orders automatically go to the bar terminal and the rest to the kitchen terminal. Now that's very neat!

Why hadn't anyone thought of this idea before? The pros are many
- Innovative, cool ordering system that can attract more customers.
- In places like the Tree House which have multiple floors, it saves the waiter from making a trip all the way to the kitchen to place the orders. So in turn, lesser waiters are needed.
- Go green. What an environment friendly concept! No papers at all. All electronic.

The only cons of the whole system is the initial investment setup. Well, if we factor in the savings brought about by the pros, the investment is highly justifyable and will pay for itself in a pretty short time.

Well, at the end of the day, I had a hearty laugh over the fact that I had to go all the way to Costa Rica to see such an advanced restaurant ordering system!