iPads and restaurants are a natural marriage, but the right accessories make it better
Apple’s iPad really is a versatile machine. They are also popping up in the restaurant industry in the thousands. They can be the perfect tool for all sorts of tasks, such as taking orders, processing payments, doing inventory, as an accounting tool or even to keep diners entertained. But with the right iPad accessories, you can make this tablet computer into an even more powerful tool.
POS System for Tablets
More than just a single accessory, these programs represent a full set of tools. It can turn your tablet into a mobile sales kiosk. It often comes with an MSR (magnetic stripe reader), receipt printer and cash drawer. It may also support wireless payments. It can offer tons of tracking reports to help you keep track of inventory, staff hours, sales, etc.
Editor's Note: Need a mobile POS solution? We can help you choose the one that’s right for you. Use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:
Prepara iPrep Tablet Holder; $24.99
Prepara’s iPrep Tablet Holder is a great accessory for the kitchen as it provides a hands-free option that holds your iPad in an upright position, which makes it easy to read and navigate recipes. The holder is designed with a rubberized dock, keeping the iPad securely in place and provides an oversized stable base that’s not easily knocked over. It can be angled so you can see the iPad screen no matter how tall you are and what’s more, it comes with a stylus, allowing you to keep the screen free of contaminants.
CTA Digital Bamboo Cutting Board; $17.99
Probably more useful for a small kitchen or catering business, CTA Digital’s Bamboo Cutting Board with Shield lets you easily watch how-to videos or read instructions while prepping vegetables or cutting meat. The board itself measures 5.5 X 12.9 X 0.75 inches and features five side slots for knife storage along with a see-through protective screen that protects the iPad from food contaminants. You may want to keep focused while cutting or you could lose a finger.
Orange Chef Sleeve; $13.62
Simple and safe is the best way to describe Orange Chef’s Protective Sleeve for the iPad. The food-safe plastic fits snuggly to a full-sized tablet and seals over with an adhesive edge. This is a great option for those who routinely handle food. Make no mistake, though, the sleeve is not waterproof and can’t handle being dropped into liquids of any kind.
Weber iGrill Mini; $49.99
Getting the right internal temperature is key when cooking beef, pork or poultry. Weber’s iGrill Mini Thermometer helps monitor those temps and will alert you when it reaches the desired setting via both an onboard LED and notifications sent directly to the iPad or other mobile device (works with Android as well). The iGrill comes with one temperature probe and connects to your mobile device via Bluetooth. Controlling temperature settings and alert options is done using Weber’s iGrill app.
Armor Mine Bluetooth Speaker; $29.99
Walk into any restaurant kitchen and you’ll find several things – pots and pans, cutlery and utensils, and a radio. Bluetooth-enabled speakers are a popular choice with iPad users and Armor Mine’s is well suited for a busy kitchen environment. The speaker is rugged and features waterproof housing and external controls for volume, power and answering calls. It also sports a USB charging port so you can have it on a constant charge while focusing on work.
A good wall mount is a great option to keep the iPad hands-free and can be mounted anywhere: kitchen, bar or office. Monoprice’s Safe and Secure Wall Mount is one of the better wall mounts on the market. It features a steel construction, dual arms and swivel head as well as a secure locking case to prevent theft. As far as manipulation goes, it has swivel range of 360 degrees and a tilt range of 30 degrees.
Got kids? Then you’re already familiar with the crayons and coloring book menus most restaurants have to keep children entertained. Another option, instead of using crayons for coloring, comes from Griffin Technology with their Crayola ColorStudio digital stylus. ColorStudio allows children to color on the iPad using a marker-like digital stylus and the iTunes coloring app. It’s a nice alternative for those eateries that don’t offer coloring materials and offers use as a pen, marker, crayon and paintbrush along with images that will keep kids entertained.
Drop Kitchen Connected Scale; $79.94
Using a scale in the kitchen can help you get recipes right, and the Drop Kitchen Connected Scale is a great alternative to using measuring cups. The scale connects to any iOS device and uses an interactive recipe app that lets you measure by weight instead of volume. The recipes can also be scaled to size depending on the portion amount. What’s more, you can also make mixed drinks with it. A companion app includes a ton of recipes for both food and drink.