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This San Francisco Restaurant Serves Food on Actual iPads

It’s a bizarre attempt to attract a younger audience

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Bill Addison

Technology is seeping into the dining experience at a rapid pace. A restaurant in New York City is employing Apple Watches to increase communication between staff; tablets on tables are replacing menus and servers at restaurants across the country; and apps are aiming to smooth out everything from ordering to payment to food delivery. Serving actual food on an actual iPad may be the next big thing in dining rooms across the globe.

Restaurants in the United Kingdom have been using iPads as plates since 2015, according to the Daily Mail. Arzak, the San Sebastian restaurant that boasts three Michelin stars, has been serving food on iPads for a few years. Now, acclaimed San Francisco restaurant Quince is the latest to join the trend.

The 13-year-old, tasting-menu-only spot run by Michael and Lindsey Tusk, which just received its third Michelin star this year, is now incorporating iPads into its meals: The dish “A Dog in Search of Gold” is served on a iPad Pro in lieu of a plate. Understandably, this had some on Twitter scratching their heads a few days ago when it was first revealed. According to 9to5Mac, it’s an attempt by the restaurant to attract a younger audience.

The dish, which is made of white truffle croquettes on iPads playing videos of dogs on the truffle-hunt, raises questions about food safety and how thoroughly the iPads are cleaned in-between customers, which is something San Francisco has no regulations on at the moment.

UPDATE, 5:11 p.m.: In a Facebook post Wednesday evening, Tusk addressed the media attention toward the iPad plate, including concerns about sanitation: “The iPad and the custom walnut box it rests in combine a little bit of gastronomy, technology, education and whimsy,” Tusk wrote. “As to the construction and design of the box we commissioned local wood worker and friend Luke Bartels to create a housing for the iPad — a simple frame with a plexi glass cover that protects the screen. The food does not directly sit on top of the iPad. The removable plexi sheath is washed and sanitized after every use in keeping with all other plate ware.”

Yelp/Elaine H.

It looks like We Want Plates, the parody account on Twitter that makes fun of all the unusual vessels used to plate dishes, will be posting an ever-increasing number of iPads to its timeline.

San Francisco restaurant now using iPads as plates in effort to reach younger audience [9to5Mac]
Cheeky Twitter Account Calls Out Restaurants for Their Dumb Plates [E]
All Coverage of Quince [ESF]