Earlier this week, a coworker sent our team an email with a picture of an ipad he stumbled upon. He was at the Minneapolis/St.Paul Airport and a new restaurant, Volante, which put ipads at every table, where you browse the menu and can surf the internet. Being in the digital signage/in-store digital technology field, I just had to check it out.
Good thing I had this trip coming up! My grandma and I met at the airport around 5:30pm for our 7:30 flight to Washington DC. This should have been ample time, however, we were at a gate smack dab across the airport from us. It would have been risky to try to make it there and back, and I didn’t want to drag my grandma on a goose chase. Luck would have it though, that once I sat down, the airline attendant announced our gate had changed. The route to the new gate brought us right past the new restaurant… score!
From the onset, it looked like a really neat place. Trendy/modern with the appropriate flare of technology. We grabbed a table, and a waitress said she would be right with us to show us how to work the ipad. I was a little put off that she assumed I didn’t know how to use it, but was also glad to have someone there to answer questions my grandma had in a more patient manor. It’s nearly impossible for me to understand what it is like growing up without technology.
After flipping through the menu, I got myself a small appetizer (chicken lettuce roll ups) and a Heineken and my grandma a glass of wine (I’m so serious, I have her drinking already!). I’m pretty sure it was an asian fusion type of restaurant. Then, to finalize the order, I had to select the tip amount and scan my card on the little reader next to me.
20 minutes later my food came out, and I had ask the waitress about the drinks. She scurried over to the bar and picked them up. I’m not sure how long they had been sitting there, but I absolutely hate it when I get my food before my beverage.
The food was actually pretty good, definitely a place I’d go to again. The atmosphere was a little difficult though – two minutes after placing the order, I shut my ipad off because the constant attract-loop was, well, attracting my attention. My grandma showed annoyance too, so I shut hers off as well. Ya’ll know I love my grandma, but this woman is kind of short. Beyond us being annoyed at the distraction, due to the ipads, I could only see her eyes from across the table. It didn’t help that they were portrait oriented and raised onto a stand. If I ever go back (and I’m sure I will) I’ll definitely sit at the bar, even if I am with someone else. I think that sitting next to, rather than across from, would make conversations a lot easier.
Other random thoughts:
- The coolest part of the whole place? The outlet on the table that enabled me to USB charge my iphone while having dinner. I would eat that crap up if USB ports came standard other places. I always loose the adapters, so I usually need to plug it into a computer. Not anymore!
- I didn’t like having to select the tip amount before I even placed my order. Had I known my drinks would arrive so late, I would not have tipped 18% (my options were 0, 15%, 18% and 20%).
- I’d create the app differently, but over all, it was nice, intuitive, and responsive. No complaints about how it was created (ignoring the semi-annoying attract-loop).
- The waitress never even came back after our food and drinks were served. It was kind of awkward, and not a place I would typically expect to tip.
- Also, apparently the name of the place was Shoyu, thus the name of this post. Not sure if I went to a different place or what.
- They emailed me the receipt, which was handy (and reminded me of the name of the place :) )
Luckily, I’m traveling two more weekends in the next month – maybe next time I’ll have better luck with the waitress and have a completely refreshed opinion of the place.