Touchscreen Innovation in Airport Dining

by RaeAnne Marsh

HMSHost debuted the latest innovation in its dining service — Presto tablet, a table-top touchscreen that lets diners order and pay for their meals quickly and conveniently — at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. “We wanted to test it out in an airport where management is open to new ideas. … Also, this is one of the busiest terminals,” says Paul Mamalian, chief innovation officer for HMSHost, a world leader in creating dining and shopping for travel venues. HMSHost also equips the device with games and plans to add additional features.

Product developer E la Carte’s previous testing of the Presto tablet showed heightened customer satisfaction, as evidenced in an increase in both tips and sales. “It frees the server to be able to interact with the customer,” explains Mamalian, who says his company does not intend to use the technology to replace staff.

From its first use at Taberna del Tequila, HMSHost will roll out the device to other restaurants in Sky Harbor — whose Terminal 4, Mamalian notes, has more local restaurants than any one terminal of any other airport in the country — and then to other airports. Says HMSHost Executive VP of Development Steve Johnson, “It’s truly the future of hospitality for airport dining.”

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