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Want your beer and wings faster? Order on the iPad, please

February 7, 2012 06:05 AM ET

The Hubworks case doesn't cover the glass screen of the iPads, and waiters must wipe them down after every use to remove fingerprints. "We've not added a protective layer over the screen, but we're evaluating if we need one," Murphy said.

Hubworks sells each 8GB iPad with the case, a magnetic credit card reader slot and extended charging capability for $750; it also offers integration with point-of-sale systems selling its software as a service and charging licensing fees, said Aaron Gabriel, vice president of sales and marketing and co-founder of Hubworks Interactive. Units can be mounted to tables, but Buffalo Wild Wings has included an RFID security system to keep the devices from being stolen, he said.

Murphy said that there were complications integrating the iPad with its existing point-of-sales system, so the chain may simply have customers order their wings and drinks through a Web-based ordering system already in place. That system is used by customers who order food for pick-up.

Depending on how the trials go, Hubworks believes restaurants could offer more functions, including video chat using the newer iPad 2 at each table.

Why the iPad?P Partly because the device is well-known and larger than others on the market, Murphy said. Plus, many customers come to the sports bars in groups and stay for several hours at a time.

In the first test, while men in a group typically watched a football or hockey game, women in the group would pick up the iPad and launch Facebook, Murphy said. "We have a very captive audience with good sales volume in our restaurants, so we view this iPad as a way for customers to stay connected socially and not have to use their own device."

If the device cuts costs through advertising or offers greater restaurant efficiencies, so much the better. Those factors will be among those Buffalo Wild Wings evaluates.

"We have a lot to work out," Murphy added. "Nobody knows where this is heading."

More tablet info

The table below shows the most recently announced tablets as reported by Computerworld. Click a tablet's name in the leftmost column to read a news story or review with more information about the device, or view a larger table with more details about each product.