The U.S. restaurant industry is seeking to attract more footfalls by customizing the dining experience and reducing waiting time. Recently, Brinker International, Inc. (EAT) announced the completion of more than 45,000 tabletop tablet installations in all the 823 Chili’s Grill & Bar company-owned restaurants in the U.S. in collaboration with Ziosk.
Texas-based Ziosk is the maker of the world's first ordering, entertainment and pay-at-the-table tablet. Through the tablet diners can interact with the restaurant and share feedback right from their tables thereby promoting guest loyalty and engagement. The company offers a 7-inch tablet along with an encrypted credit card reader at each table enabling guests to browse menu items, play games, view news and entertainment, order food and beverages and 'pay on demand' thereby enhancing their dining experience.
With the recent rollout, Ziosk now commands roughly 95% of the installed tabletop menu, ordering, entertainment and payment market share totaling over 1,000 restaurants, including Applebee's – a casual-dining chain owned by DineEquity Inc. (DIN).
Brinker started testing these tablets at its restaurants around eight months back as part of the complete reimaging of Chili’s restaurant design and completed the installation almost two month ahead of the expected time. The casual dining restaurant chain plans to set up these tablets in all the franchised Chili’s restaurants by autumn this year.
In addition to the menu items, easy ordering and payment options and interactive games, the tablets will feature a Ziosk-developed program updated bi-weekly with recent news and events.
In our view, this tabletop technology will help Chili’s to improve the interaction between diners and waiters. Further, the restaurant chain can hire slightly fewer servers or reduce the hours of wait-staff employees, thus leading to higher efficiency. Additionally, it will help reduce waiting times, especially during peak hours, giving them a competitive edge over fast-casual restaurants, such as Panera Bread Company (PNRA) and Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (CMG).
Brinker currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
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