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Ore. Restaurant Using Electronic Tablets

February 10, 2004

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) _ Pen and pencil are out. So is paper. The waiters at Eugene’s new Dive Bar & Grill no longer scrawl your order on a notepad. Instead, they record your order by pressing the screen of an electronic tablet.

The order is then sent via radio waves to the restaurant’s main computer, and a ticket prints out in the kitchen, where a cook grabs it and gets to work.

The Dive Bar’s recent opening marked the debut of a wireless technology developed by ViewTouch Inc., a four-employee Eugene software firm.

The bar’s owner, Mike West, said he’s hoping the new system will pay for itself in reduced labor costs.

``This is the only way I see myself being able to stay in the business of full-service, sit-down restaurants,″ said West.

West admits that he doesn’t relish using technology to cut jobs. ``But in the same breath,″ he said, ``I’ll tell you that the only cost we can control is the cost of service labor, which is at an all-time high.″

The ViewTouch tablet should maker workers more efficient, said Clyde Raven, ViewTouch marketing director.

The orders are accurate, he said. There’s no need to decipher a server’s handwriting, and the orders arrive instantly at the kitchen in a consistent, readable format.

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