The deal is a huge coup for E la Carte which has been steadily growing the number of restaurants that carry its ruggedized speciality tablet.
And it may well be the largest tablet rollout, including iPads, by any private enterprise or academic institution to date. A recent report ranks the Chicago public school system’s deployment of 60,000 iPads as the biggest such iPad deployment.
Applebee’s has over 1,800 restaurants in the United States. E la Carte’s tablets may also wind up in iHOP restaurants as well. DineEquity, the franchisor of both restaurants, is said to be evaluating deployment to the pancake chain.
A spokesperson for E la Carte says Applebee’s evaluated several other tablets before choosing the Presto.
“Let’s face it, everyone who has ever been to a restaurant has been frustrated by waiting for their check,” said Applebee’s President Mike Archer. “Starting out, our goal was to create a way for guests to control when and how they pay their check. What we learned after nearly two years of testing is we can provide much more. The Presto tablet will deliver our guests a robust slate of offerings for not only transactions, but entertainment, social interaction and more, moving forward.”
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A tablet designed for restaurants
E la Carte’s Presto tablet features an all-day battery, illuminated credit card reader, and a ruggedized casing designed to withstand the inevitable spills and bumps of a restaurant environment.
The tablet is also equipped with Bluetooth, cameras and NFC (near field communication) chips that could be used as opportunities emerge for so-called mobile wallet and mobile phone interactions.
Currently, the tablets give guests the ability to pay at their table, add additional drinks, desserts and other menu items to their order and play a selection of games as well as have their receipt emailed. Over the next 18 months, enhanced functionality, such as video streaming, music, additional games, social media interaction with Applebee’s Facebook community and personal pages and gift card sales will be added.
Last May E la Carte’s founder and CEO Rajat Suri told TabTimes that while the Presto serves a very specific purpose, there is a lot of innovation in its design. At the time he said E la Carte was on its sixth generation of hardware. "It’s a hard product to build,” said Suri.
Backing from Intel
This past June, Silicon Valley-based E la Carte announced a $13.5 million funding round led by Intel Capital, the chip giant’s venture capital arm.
Suri had predicted then that the company could have as many as 100,000 tablets at various restaurants by the end of this year.