A couple of weekends ago I took a vacation to Hollywood, California. I had never been on the boulevard and was intrigued by the costumed street actors, view of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the introduction to a new concept of an interactive eatery.
For lunch we headed into a mall filled with restaurants. One caught my eye instantaneously solely because of the name, uWink. Not only did this restaurant have an interesting name, the whole concept was something I had not encountered before.
We were sat at a table with three computer screens in the middle. Every two seats could share a screen. Our server came up and explained why they were there. We all entered our names in sync with the chairs that we were sitting in. This then led us to several categories on the screen: order beverages, order drinks, order food, play games, pay bill, preferences. On the right side were advertisements for their happy hour, games to play and different features they want to show.
Our server explained that everything that we ordered was done through the touch screen, even drink re-fills. This feature enabled us to go through the menu at our pace and send orders to the kitchen whenever we wanted. The option to change how something was made was part of the order process and gave the restaurant less of a chance to make a mistake, which usually affects the mood of a customer.
After ordering drinks and food, there were several games that could be played with the people at your table or you could invite people from other tables to play against you.
The whole concept was fascinating to me as I am in tune with social media and new technologies in our presence. My whole table did not seem to agree. My mom was annoyed that no one was talking to one another and thought the model did not make sense for an eatery. I see this occurrence in regular social media also, with those who do not understand new concepts taking off and becoming a part of their everyday routines. Are we becoming less personable as times change, or are those who are familiar with a different way of doing things just reluctant to progress?
Even if the concept is not accepted by all, I believe that uWink has come up with something that will become increasingly popular. People like quick and easy with a dash of entertainment in between.
Alongside of uWink’s idea, our agency has also been dabbling in the touch screen arena. A recent project was a flat screen that has touch capabilities for our client Imperial Wholesale. In the program that we created for the touch screen, all of the products that are available through Imperial Wholesale can be chosen to create a room so that you can see a finished result before you start your own project. Instead of making a customer flip through books of samples that are usually not visually appealing, a salesperson can take them to the 50 inch flat screen and show them their options.
It was surveyed by Forrester Research that 60% of marketers will be increasing their interactive marketing budgets and shift those funds from traditional ways of marketing. Whether it is a restaurant or a company selling products, creating new and efficient ways to conduct business remains a constant goal even as times change. With deteriorating budgets, many of our clients are inclined to start or even strengthen their email marketing campaigns and are pushing traditional advertising aside. With this trend we have found that it is safe to say that alternative marketing tools are no longer a hope for the future but are now a way of the present.