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Restauranteur hopes the Apple Watch will improve fine dining

Floor managers will receive constant updates from servers and the kitchen.
Jamie Rigg, @jmerigg
September 29, 2016
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Danny Meyer is considered to be quite the progressive restauranteur. His employees don't rely on tips to make ends meet (the practice is outlawed at his establishments, in fact), and they get various benefits including a share of profits. Aside from running his hospitality empire in an unorthodox way, he's also the mastermind behind Shake Shack. His next forward-thinking initiative doesn't involve any new management strategies, however. Rather, at one of his flagship restaurants he'll soon be ceding some of that responsibility to the Apple Watch.

When the Union Square Cafe in Manhattan reopens next month, Apple Watch-toting managers and sommeliers will roam the floors, being made aware of every minor interaction by an enterprise app created by mobile booking platform Resy. Taking cues from other front of house employees, ResyOS will notify the appropriate people when customers are first seated, the kitchen runs out of crab, a bottle of wine is ordered, when a group is done and requires their coats, or when someone vaguely famous strolls through the door.

In the future, it'll be improved with a consumer-facing twist, too. Guests will be able to share booking information with their group, thereby telling the restaurant who else is in the party. A diner will also have the opportunity to flag when they're running late, and a floor manager will be notified on their wearable. Furthermore, the platform will soon allow groups to split the bill and pay separately via smartphone. And if all goes well, Meyer could introduce the system at other eateries.

The new Apple Watch Series 2 is a slightly better fitness tracker than the first-gen model, but otherwise it's much as the same as every other smartwatch: A companion device lacking that killer, standalone purpose. Perhaps enterprise-focused roles are where smartwatches will have a renewed impact. That said, ResyOS sounds like it could easily lead to better customer service and restaurant efficiencies, or send managers into perma-notification comas. Either way, we're sure they're looking forward to the first system outage.

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