(OTG Founder and CEO Rick Blatstein told Eric Lai at Forbes, "We're seeing 15-20 percent revenue boost.")
Based on this success, OTG rolled out iPads inside restaurants.
One of the lessons learned was that industrial design matters. At first, OTG enclosed iPads in large metal boxes that were attached to fixed stands. People sitting at a table were supposed to share a single iPad. OTG began to think about adding split-check functionality to its custom restaurant menu app.
"It diminished the magic," Lee says.
OTG quickly made adjustments and now there's an iPad for every person, thus no need for split checks. The iPad can be held freely and used in either landscape or portrait orientation (although iPads have a leash to prevent theft). Meanwhile, waiters and waitresses wipe down iPad screens after every use.
A free-to-use, properly cleaned iPad sounds like a dream come true for weary travelers-but can you trust it? OTG was concerned about customer privacy, and so app developer Control Group created a custom browser that wipes all personal information as soon as the user hits the home button.
The built-in Safari browser, on the other hand, stores cookies and personal information. "It wasn't going to work for a multi-tenant environment," Lee says.
CTO Albert Lee
Now OTG stands on the precipice of a massive rollout: 7,000 iPads in the next 18 months. Blastein told Lai at Forbes that this figure could rise anywhere from 25,000 to 100,000 in the next few years.
This will put the pressure on OTG's supply chain partner Tekserve. Already, Tekserve has streamlined deployment. The first iPads took about two weeks of prep time and two hours per table to set up. Tekserve has gotten those numbers down to 24 to 48 hours of prep time and 10 to 15 minutes per table.
OTG is spending millions buying iPads and stands, developing custom apps, streamlining deployment, and altering the way its restaurants operate-all to improve the customer experience.
"You're ordering a sandwich and a beer and playing a bunch of games while sitting in the waiting room at LaGuardia, as the technology kind of melts away," Lee says. "How cool is that?"
Tom Kaneshige covers Apple and Consumerization of IT for CIO.com. Follow Tom on Twitter @kaneshige. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Tom at email@example.com