Quince Restaurant Really Loves iPads

January 5, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

If you’ve ever looked at an iPad or another tablet and said, man, this would make one sweet plate, you’re a lot more visionary than you may think. So visionary, in fact, that a Michelin three-star restaurant in San Francisco—Quince, by name—has recently started using iPads in an unexpected fashion: as a dinner service.

While ordering from an iPad isn’t exactly something new, receiving that order on an iPad is a little more unusual. The dish in question—titled “a dog in search of gold,” a white truffle croquette—comes with an iPad showing footage of the water dogs engaging in the hunt for truffles.

It’s not exactly a new phenomenon, but it’s one that’s met with quite a bit of controversy since it got started, generally in 2015.

It’s a means that’s calling attention to restaurants for good or ill; aesthetics aside, the idea of that iPad being properly cleaned after a meal to be reused as a plate seems unlikely. While certainly, the use of mobile technology in restaurants has been gaining ground and has delivered a lot of value already, the idea of using them as plates is a bit beyond the pale.

Admittedly, Quince has a lot on its plate—so to speak—to get and keep interest. Offering prix fixe meals in the three-figure range depending on the night you eat there—the New Year’s Eve special reaches a staggering $420 per person—is likely a difficult proposition to keep going even in the wealthy San Francisco area, so throwing in an unusual media experience isn’t a bad idea. It might have been better served if they’d built these into the tables instead, but the basic idea certainly is an attention-getter.

Still, it’s hard to complain too loudly. Advances are advances, after all, and if the market doesn’t much care for these it will reject the advance and make it clear to the rest of the field that iPads and expensive food do not mix. At least, not when it comes to the actual serving; orders and payments should do just fine here.