Language barriers, waiting to be served and awkward first-date conversations could be a thing of the past in Phnom Penh’s dining scene thanks to new interactive electronic menus.
Nina Loacker/Phnom Penh Post
A customer orders a coffee with sugar on the new eMenu at Coffee Room on Street 215 in Phnom Penh.
The revolutionary menu, called eMenu, lets customers order their food from touch screen tablets without the need of a middleman, more commonly known as a waiter.
The Coffee Room on Street 215 is serving as the testing grounds for the revolutionary new menus which were introduced to Phnom Penh less than a month ago by Cambodian IT company Cresittel.
“This is the way of the future,” Cresittel CEO Irina Afonina said. “Our idea is to make customers independent.”
The menu features icons of each dish which customers can select to find out what ingredients are in it. When they are ready they can order with the touch of the screen and the waiter will bring them their meal when it is ready.
“While you are waiting for your order you can play games, check your emails, browse the internet, Skype someone. Customers don’t need to carry their own laptops,” Afonina said.
The eMenu can program different languages so customers can select their preferred language – a handy feat for the multilingual bunch touring and living in the Penh.
Cambodian waitress Sreyroth Pring who works at The Coffee Room finds it easier to understand her customers with the eMenu.
“We have a lot of foreigners here and it makes it easier for me to take their orders,” she said. “They can just select it on the tablet and then we can go and make it.”
Coffee Room customer Richard Stout from the US thought the menus had the potential to revolutionize restaurants and coffee shops.
“The way they integrate the menu to the electronic device is quite interesting,” he said.
“It’s easy to flip through and order what you want – there are pictures which you can just tap. I do think it will catch on, especially in areas where there are a lot of foreigners not speaking the local language. If the Khmer start using it too, it might make the interaction easier for them.”
However, expat Susanne Prebmanu from Germany had her reservations.
“I found it easy to use and I think they are a good idea, but … it’s not hard to order a coffee anyways,” she said.
“There is no conversation, they just bring it to you.”
But Afonina said the eMenu encouraged conversation among customers, dispelling awkward silences.
“It creates conversation, people can play games together and browse the net,” she said.
At the end of a meal, customers can simply touch a tab which says, ‘Bill please’. Their bill is then brought right away to their table by a waiter.
“I believe in this technology. Cambodia and Phnom Penh is growing fast, we have to move with the growth and technology,” said Afonina.