Apple Gets a Taste of the Restaurant Business


Is Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) getting into the restaurant business? A recently published patent uncovered by Patently Apple outlines a unique method for taking orders and reservations in a restaurant. In the patent titled, “Systems and Methods for Processing Orders and Reservations Using an Electronics Device,” Apple describes a holistic restaurant management system that would recommend restaurants based on specific criteria, record reservations, and take customers’ food orders via an iOS device.

As noted in the patent description, the system would also be able to dynamically update a restaurant’s wait list based on various factors such as the “estimated finish time” for a particular dish. For example, a customer waiting for a table may be told that their wait time will be longer or shorter based on what people are currently ordering in the restaurant. “[T]he number of items ordered, or even more specifically the actual items ordered at a table, can be used to refine the wait time of entries in the wait list,” noted Apple in the patent description. “Changes to the wait time or requests for a reservation can be communicated to the restaurant through a portable electronic device operated by a customer.”

The system will also be able to provide restaurant recommendations based on geographic location, user-specific information, or other specifications. For example, if a customer finds that a particular restaurant has a wait time that is unacceptable, the system will provide a list of other nearby restaurants with shorter wait times. As noted by Apple in the patent description, the system could also provide recommendations based on “a particular restaurant type, cuisine, ethnicity, price point, rating, or a combination of a few of these factors.”