Danny Meyer clearly sees himself as a progressive innovator in the restaurant world – and the actions his company Union Square Hospitality Group has taken in recent years certainly backs that up. He’s made headlines for everything from eliminating tipping to turning Shake Shack into a billion dollar behemoth to, just this week, announcing paid parental leave for employees. If you casually compared him and his company to other famed visionaries – for instance, Steve Jobs and Apple – I’m guessing he wouldn’t vehemently object.
So it’s not necessarily surprising that for Union Square Hospitality’s latest innovation, the company has decided to take advantage of a piece of technology produced by the aforementioned tech giant. Yesterday, Meyer announced a plan to integrate Apple Watches into operations at his acclaimed Union Square Cafe, which will reopen next month, with the wearable tech set to adorn every single floor manager and sommelier in the establishment.
According to Eater, the idea is that this high-tech device can replace verbal communication on – and thus theoretically streamline – things like “when a VIP walks through the front door, someone orders a bottle of wine, a new table is seated, a guest waits too long to order her or his drink, or a menu item runs out,” with this information instantly being passed along to the employees in the restaurant that need to know via an alert on their wrist. The app behind the system was developed by the reservation system startup Resy, so the hope is that customer-friendly features can be integrated into the system as well including handling reservations details (of course) and payment, even splitting checks. Reportedly, the entire system will be run through an iPad at the host stand – meaning MIT grads who need a part-time gig while looking for something more lucrative may want to apply.
One group of people who won’t be wearing Apple Watches: servers. “Right now, servers will not be wearing watches, only management and sommeliers,” Union Square Hospitality Group's VP of Technology Maureen Cushing told Eater. Though it’s not explained why servers couldn’t also be wearing Apple Watches. I imagine it couldn’t be any more annoying “look how I am obviously memorizing your whole order isn’t that impressive” shtick so many waiters use.