13 ways your restaurant may be using technology to woo you

Is your favorite restaurant wired for your convenience? Check out the following ways your local establishment is keeping in contact with you.

1. Now more than ever, restaurants need to be aware of their web footprint when it comes to reviews and ratings on sites like zagat, gayot, dine, tripadvisor, yelp, urbanspoon and others. Most have their own iPhone app, too. When reading a testimonial, remember that many restaurants plan accordingly to boost their reviews.

2. With the Open Table app, you can find the nearest restaurants and openings wherever you are. Upscale restaurants are intricately connected to Open Table through their online registration system. This enables them to scan free tables and time slots and automatically populate it with reservations.

3. We bet your favorite watering hole knows more about you than your doctor. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations—they’re keeping tabs and putting it all into the Open Table scheduling system.
PLUS: 20 Secrets Your Waiter Won’t Tell You

4. Your restaurant wants you to tell your friends where you are with apps like Foursquare and Meetup. The apps allow users to “check in” at restaurants so friends can meet up with them. Think of it as real-time recommendations.

5. Imagine perusing a wine list on an iPad? Check out how this San Francisco restaurant is showing off its extensive collection on the iPad. Sound expensive? Some restaurants are constantly updating 100-page wine lists. The savings in paper per year would pay for a couple of iPads, one maitre d’ said.

6. Most restaurants have their complete wine lists online. If you plan ahead, you can avoid having to quickly navigate a weighty wine list. You may even find a low-cost steal or rare vintage. Get reviews from Wine Spectator (members only), Wine Enthusiast, cellartracker or do a Google search for private wine bloggers to avoid making a pricey fumble.

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