Lift restaurant launches iPad menus in Vancouver
After a six-month test period, Lift restaurant (333 Menchion Mews) is officially launching the use of iPad menus this month. The relaxed fine-dining restaurant in Coal Harbour is the first Vancouver restaurant to use the LiveMenu application developed by Ontario-based technology company Binnj.
At a media open house last night (October 12), I had a chance to try out one of the restaurant's 29 iPad menus, which are currently only available for use in the restaurant's indoor dining room (and not on the patio).
Lift's iPad menu features the entire dining menu, including all items from its starter, main, sides, oyster and sushi lists, and desserts, as well as wine and drink menus. Each menu item is accompanied by a photo of the dish, a detailed description, and wine pairings (both by the bottle and by the glass). During a presentation, restaurant manager and wine director Steve Lobsinger assured that these features are not meant to decrease restaurant staff service, but enhance the overall dining experience. Lobsinger explained that not every server is a sommelier or knowledgeable about wine pairings, so this added feature helps diners make informed decisions about their wine and food.
The menu is currently available in both English and French; however, Lift operations manager Martin Carrion told the Straight that the restaurant will be looking at getting the menu translated into several other languages in the future. The nutritional value of each dish will also be added to the menu, and diners with food allergies or intolerances will be able to select a specific tab, say "gluten-free", to view dishes that they can eat.
Carrion said that Lift decided to move forward with the launch of iPad menus, not only because the device is gaining popularity, but also because it dramatically decreases the number of paper menus the restaurant prints. He mentioned that often, if a dish is unavailable that day or moderations are made to the menu, new menus are printed.
When asked about customer feedback during the restaurant's six-month test period, both Lobsinger and Carrion agreed that the majority of diners enjoyed the iPad menus, even those who were not familiar with using Apple products. The backlit menus are particularly helpful for diners who had trouble reading a paper menu in the mostly candlelit dining room. A small number of paper menus will still be available to diners who prefer not using an iPad menu.
You can follow Michelle da Silva on Twitter at twitter.com/michdas.