They Text Their Waiters
Charlies Kitchen in nearby Cambridge (10 Eliot St., 617-492-9646, charlieskitchen.com) was one of the first to use TextMyFood, a customer-to-waiter text-messaging system. When a server is out of sight, diners can text their drink and food orders directly to a touch screen in the kitchen.
They Replaced Bulky Beepers
Used almost exclusively in Boston locations, including Finale Desserterie & Bakery (30 Dunster St., Cambridge, 617-441-9797, finaledesserts.com), the Textaurant service eliminates the need to carry reservation buzzers around. The hostess enters your phone number into a machine that auto-texts you when the table is ready. A new upgrade, due out this year, will allow diners to put their names on the web wait list before they arrive.
They Track Their Orders by Touch Screen
Thanks to a new tablet device called E la Carte (designed by MIT students), customers can view photos and nutritional information for all a restaurant’s dishes, as well as place orders, track the food’s progress from the kitchen and play games while waiting. Uno in Harvard Square (22 JFK St., Cambridge, 617-497-1530, unos.com) is one of the first to test the pilot version.
They Check Themselves Out
A device called the Ziosk lets diners pay their bill and email themselves a receipt through a tableside screen. It originated in Dallas but is gaining popularity faster in Boston than anywhere.