Shiny Tablets Trick Americans Into Buying More Food From Chili’s

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The future! Photo: Courtesy of Ziosk

Chili's has apparently figured out how to get people to spend more money on their meals: Just let them order food and pay for dinner with a digital tablet. The chain tested Ziosk tablets — like iPads for the QSR set — at around 200 locations and found that customers tipped more (the tablet defaults to suggesting a 20 percent gratuity), ordered more food (pictures and speedy response facilitate impulse orders), and ate more quickly (the tablet sits on the table so diners don't have to wait to get a check). So, Chili's — and surely other chain restaurants reading about their success (McDonald's is testing ordering apps, too) — will install tablets at almost all of its 1,200-plus locations next year. [Businessweek]