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New York restaurant adopts iPads, saves money

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The next time you're at the Brooklyn (NY) Tap House choosing from the wide variety of beers on tap, don't be surprised if you see iPads at the bar or an iPod touch in the hands of your waitperson. The gastropub has installed a point-of-sale system from Albuquerque-based POSLavu that uses the Apple devices in place of a much more expensive traditional restaurant POS system.

The main attraction for the POSLavu system, according to restauranteur and co-owner Hugo Salazar, was the price. Many restaurants use systems from Micros or Aloha that can sport price tags of US$20,000 or more; the bottom line for the devices and software at the Brooklyn Tap House was about $7,000.

Salazar and partner Steve Escobar say the system has some advantages. The iPads tend to start conversations at the bar, and they can be used to check web sites to settle bar arguments. The order flow is much smoother, with orders taken wirelessly from the iPod touch devices in the hands of waitstaff and then printed in the kitchen. Inventory is updated immediately, and the owners can check sales and more from literally anywhere in the world.

On the negative side, customers often think that waitstaff are texting friends instead of taking their orders. The staff has broken iPods (one wonders if the Tap House has ever heard of LifeProof or OtterBox cases...), and connectivity to the local Wi-Fi network for sending orders has been an issue.

Still, the owners are happy with both the POSLavu system and the Apple technology, with waitstaff often pointing out to customers that they're using an Apple-based system.

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