The innovation by Danny Meyer, who runs the New York City restaurant empire Union Square Hospitality Group, sounds promising: Apple Watch-clad floor managers, waiters, and sommeliers get a stream of alerts when someone orders a bottle of wine, when a VIP guests steps through the front door, if someone waits too long to make a drink order, or if someone orders a bottle of wine. The control center for the watches will be an iPad at the host podium near the front of the house, according to Eater.
In theory, real-time alerts would reduce response times and boost attentiveness to customers. But it’s unclear whether waiters would welcome the change. As restaurants scramble to make good service a hallmark attraction, customer expectations have risen. Adding in a hellfire of Apple Watch notifications threatens to add more stress into the mix. The Apple Watch already brings its own dose of anxiety to casual wearers.
Of course, pleasing his waitstaff has been critical to the success of Meyer’s business. In a cut-throat industry with high employee turnover, he has showered his staff with benefits, including a plan for paid paternal leave, and an attempt to revamp America’s flawed tipping system.
With this idea, Meyer is starting small. He plans to test the technology on his soon-to-be-reopened Union Square Café in downtown New York. If it goes over well, Apple Watches will reign over his other 13 restaurants.