Skip to main content

What's Up Magazine

The Chop House's Menu Goes Digital

Jun 28, 2012 11:14PM ● By Anonymous

It's pretty standard for servers to use iPads or iPhones to take orders these days, but the Chop House has taken it one step farther by using tablets as the actual menu for customers. Here's what the press release says:

The Chop House in the Annapolis Towne Centre is on the leading edge of creating a new guest experience by offering Menuvative interactive menu tablets. But this is no ordinary menu tablet that just reiterates a paper menu – this feature rich system does so much more.

Since June 25th, The Chop House in Annapolis has offered this unique web-based menu system. Menuvative provides absolute control over the look and style of the interactive menus and provides real time updates as information is synchronized directly to the Android menu tablets. Going beyond printed menus, Menuvative integrates a sommelier's food and wine pairing logic into an interactive menu experience. This gives every guest the opportunity to view the best possible food and wine pairings.

According to Eric Ejarque, The Chop House's General Manager, "for the past few days, we've received an extraordinary response to this new menu system. We are the only ones in the area to offer this new menu concept. It is wonderful to be on the cutting edge of this new technology and create a new experience that offers so much to our guests."

As guests are seated, they are handed a traditional looking smooth black leather-bound menu. But that is where tradition ends and the new menu experience begins. Upon opening the menu, a ten inch digital screen displays a crisp image of the Chop House's signature bull logo and makes the statement "this is not your ordinary menu." As you scroll through the pages of the interactive menu tablet, guests will find this is far more informative than a traditional menu. A simple tap on any item delivers a chef's full description with an accompanying photograph, food and wine pairings and the potential to offer nutritional and allergy information.

Per Eric Arsenault, Mainstreet Ventures' Certified Sommelier and Director of Wine & Spirits, "Finally, we have a resource where we can extend unlimited amounts of information on any wine in such a detailed and interactive way. But this is different than just listing a pairing recommendation. Menuvative uses Pairing Pro a patent pending algorithm that mimics the logic behind the food and wine pairing process performed by sommeliers. Variable information, entered to create wine and food profiles populate a database of information that is mined and filtered to create outstanding recommendations for the guest, based on the sommelier's direction. From a sommelier's perspective, it's easy enough to recommend an excellent wine pairing, but coming up with ten recommendations in an instant is quite a challenge. The amazing efficiency of this system allows our restaurant to extend a sommelier's recommendation to any guest at any time. This is especially useful in our locations where we do not have a sommelier on staff."

Menuvative engages guests on a variety of different levels. Guests have enjoyed the elegant descriptions and photos of each item, viewing wine scores and tasting notes and the easy readability of the menu. With regard to the guest's dining experience, you won't find any games, social media or any other internet interaction on the menu tablet. Menuvative is not a direct order process like a kiosk where an order is placed online and does not eliminate the interaction with the server at the restaurant. Menuvative provides a greater amount of information to each guest, enhancing the guest's dining experience.

Menuvative was first launched at The Chop House in Ann Arbor, Michigan in April 2012. Mike Gibbons, President and CEO of Mainstreet Ventures, knew the tablets would be well received.

"Since the release of Menuvative in Ann Arbor, we've received a remarkable response from our guests and staff, and as a result we've seen a change in ordering patterns and an increase in food and wine sales. Guests are trying new food and wine pairings based on the recommendations from Pairing Pro, so we've also seen an increase in the variety of items ordered. With that reception, we are now launching Menuvative at our Chop Houses in Grand Rapids, Mich., Annapolis, Md., and Charleston, W. Va. Menuvative is soon to launch at the Real Seafood Company in Ann Arbor. Revolution Grille, a new sister restaurant concept in Toledo, Ohio also uses Menuvative. We think this is the future of the restaurant industry and we are excited that Mainstreet Ventures' restaurants are the first to introduce Menuvative to our guests."

What do you think -- will this catch on? Is it impractical to have all these computers around food and beverages?