Clever gimmick or another indicator that the days of cheap labour are becoming a thing of the past? Beijing’s Yaoqin restaurant has got local media attention with a high tech solution that has seen a downsizing of its waiting staff. And as the Oriental Morning Post excitedly reports, it involves the iPad. Diners are now presented with Apple’s tablet instead of a paper menu. The iPad menu has pictures (delicacies include pickled shrimp and foie gras eggs) and helpful information, such as the number of calories in the dish. The restaurant says it has used the new system for six months and seen diner numbers increase 20% as a result. The newspaper reports that other restaurants around the country are following suit, with cost reduction the main goal. A catering industry insider reckoned that it costs Rmb10,000 per year to use paper menus, which need to be frequently updated, reprinted and replaced. Although an iPad costs Rmb3,000, it has the advantage that it can be updated as and when required at no cost.
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