The local Olive Garden has added these devices to the tables. My first thought was to be annoyed at the fact that this thing takes up a significant chunk of the table. Then I messed with it a bit – it seems to be mostly a neat idea with one think that’s a bit out of place in a semi-classy joint like Olive Garden.

Let’s look at the positive aspect first – you can order drinks or ask for your drinks to be replenished. This helps to alleviate one of the biggest sources of annoyance when out to eat. You also pay on this device so if you’re completely done and don’t need boxes, you can just pay and leave. While a place with good service that isn’t swamped shouldn’t leave you wondering if you should skip the check because you’ve been waiting over 15 minutes for the check, it does occasionally happen. Again – happy customers.

Now, let’s look at the weird aspect of it – you can play games … for money. I don’t feel that belongs at an Olive Garden – that belongs at a sports bar. It also leaves me wondering what’s the point as everyone has cell phones full of free to play games. Who’s going to not bring their cell phone to a restaurant and then proceed to play games on this device?

So I like some aspects of it and wouldn’t mind seeing it at all but the most upscale restaurants (where you’re never without someone two seconds away from tending to your every need – Hello Baltimore’s Charleston restaurant), but I question the pay to play aspect of it.