Running a restaurant? With TouchBistro, there’s an app for that
A Toronto-based software developer is trying to make scrawled order tickets a thing of the past with TouchBistro, an iOS app that aims to streamline the process of running a busy restaurant. With an iPad in hand, waiters can keep track of what tables they’re assigned to, show diners photographs of individual dishes, wirelessly transmit their orders to the kitchen and split bills on the fly. For managers, the software can generate daily sales reports and help with inventory and reservation management. The basic app is free, but the ability to print or email bills and quickly update an online menu costs $300 a year. And the hardware isn’t exactly cheap either; restaurants should prepare to shell out $1,500 for the basic infrastructure and $520 for each iPad after that—a good deal more than a laminated menu, but a good deal less than a full-blown POS setup like Squirrel. The system seems to be catching on—the people at TouchBistro tell us there are currently 30 restaurants in the city using the system, including Burger Bar, L’Ouvrier and 416 Snack Bar, whose Adrian Ravinsky is quoted on the TouchBistro site calling the product “beyond awesome.” The Harvest Grill at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair even had a 14-iPad setup going. Whether all this will mean the end of the humble pen and paper remains to be seen.