iPad Menus or Smartphone Ordering?

These days everything is available on-demand. From the latest TV series on Netflix to a last minute order on Amazon Now, consumers are used to getting what they want the minute they want it.

Pubs are beginning to realise this and respond by offering their customers a more on-demand experience. This article weighs up two methods of achieving this – iPad menus offered in venue, or smartphone ordering apps on customers own phones.

Quick & Easy Service


A key benefit both technologies offer is quick & easy service.  

Tapping your order in on a phone or iPad is much more convenient than walking to another floor or queuing at the bar.

iPad menus have the advantage of always being out on display in front of the customer. Placing an order is as simple as a few taps on the screen.

Smartphones need to be taken out of a pocket or bag, and then the app opened up. Not exactly a hardship, but a few steps that aren’t needed with iPad menus.


First-time ease of use

Everyone is a first time user once, and any new concept you offer has to be easy to get to grips with the first time.

With iPad menus, a new customer just sits down at a table with an iPad to browse menus and place an order.

To order from a smartphone a customer first needs to download an app. Then when placing their first order they will also need to enter a few basic details and a payment method.

These steps don’t take long and will still be quicker than waiting at a busy bar, but iPad Menus still take the mantle for first-time ease of use.



Visibility can be a pro or a con depending on your venue and your personal preferences.

iPad Menus are generally fixed to tables in plain view of anyone entering the bar. This is great for advertising their presence, or if you run a modern bar where they’ll add to the look & feel. It’s not so great if you run a traditional pub and feel the appearance of iPads will ruin the ambiance.

Smartphone menu ordering is a much more subtle offering so if an iPad doesn’t fit with your décor, it may be the best option. However, as smartphone menu ordering is not immediately visible, you will need to make more effort advertising its availability in venue. 




With smartphone menu ordering your customers provide the devices so you don’t need to go out and buy a lot of iPads, or cases to secure them.  This can make it a better option than iPad menus for those on a tight budget.


Additional benefits


Although this article is reviewing two methods of menu ordering, its worth a note on the additional features each option can open up.

iPad menus, being on display, are great for advertising in-house offers and promotions. It’s also possible to push out timed offers that encourage impulse purchases.

A smartphone ordering app opens up different possibilities. Once your customers have an app for smartphone ordering, this can be used to push out news & promotions to their phone (assuming you’ve obtained their permission). 

As customers provide their details for smartphone ordering you can also track their ordering preferences and use the data to segment your customer base and tailor your marketing messages to the right people.




If you’re considering introducing electronic ordering hopefully this article has offered some useful points. Ultimately the right option for you will depend on you and your venue.

Some venues could even benefit from a mix of the two - a few iPads providing the visibility and ease of use to draw customers in, and a smartphone app to open the offering up to everyone in the venue.

If you're considering adding iPad menus or smartphone ordering at your venue or would just like to know more contact one our team.

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