When Cafe Martorano in Fort Lauderdale reopens Wednesday 9/18 after its annual three-week summer shutdown, diners are going to notice much than the new murals.
Owner Steve Martorano spent $14,000 on 50 Acer tablets.
Instead of paper menus, each guest will be given an electronic tablet on which they’ll see photographs of every menu item with wine suggestions to match.
“I feel like this is the future of the restaurant business,” says Martorano, who is celebrating 22 years on Oakland Park. “This way, people can see what they’re getting and what I’m hoping is that people will try something different from what they’re used to.”
Photos of such dishes as lentils and sausage and mortadella mousse, for instance, will show the uninitiated how ordinary each dish actually appears. Many of his customers order the same things — meatballs, veal Parmesan — every time they come.
Each food photo will also include a wine recommendation, which Martorano says will help educate customers about wine without having to ask sometimes awkward questions.
“It will also help sell,” says Martorano, “especially if you don’t have a well-trained staff.”
Many restaurants have their wine lists on digital tablets. They’re also used by servers in many fast casual restaurants to take orders. But Cafe Martorano is in the vanguard by putting an entirely digital menu in the hands of each each guest.
The chef says his servers have use tablets for the past three years to show diners the restaurant’s five daily specials. The biggest benefit, he says, has been that customers know exactly what they’re getting.