Is this progress? You get to vote with your comments.
Three of my friends ate at Legal Seafoods in the Prudential Center last night. At the conclusion of dinner, the server came over and, with great enthusiasm, told them that their restaurant was the first in Boston to have a new feature. (I gather from this article that it has been in use elsewhere.) It was a handheld device, running off a wi-fi system, that permitted the customers to pay their check at the table with their credit cards. (It is roughly equivalent to the one you use at a grocery store checkout.)
Yes, you can still split the bill among two or three credit cards, but you need to calculate the tip in advance from the paper bill so that you enter the right amount into the keyboard for each person.
One of my friends was very excited about this approach. Another could not see why it provided any advantage from the customer's point of view. Her view was reinforced when she mistyped a number, tried to clear and reset it, and received a message saying she should wait for the server.
This approach has been described as a way to minimize credit card fraud because you never hand off your card and have it leave your sight. It also has been described as a way to boost server productivity and speed up table turnover.
What's your take? Good, bad, indifferent? I'll send along your comments to Roger Berkowitz... or maybe he reads this blog.
By the way, this makes me wonder: Should we have a grocery-store type device for collecting co-pays at our clinics? Today, the desk attendant has to complete your transaction for you.