Mobile tablets are seamlessly popping up everywhere, from learning devices in classrooms to the everyday personal user. Now, when visiting a casual sit-down restaurant, you might find them at your table.  This year, Applebee’s began rolling out 100,000 devices across its restaurants in the U.S. with the goal of providing more food and menu information, added entertainment to the dining experience, and perhaps most importantly, a larger check size.  Just this month, less than eight months after announcing their partnership, Ziosk and Chili’s have completed installation of 45,000 tablets in 823 company-owned restaurants.

According to a company press release, after the Chili’s rollout Ziosk now represents 95 percent of the installed tabletop menu, ordering, entertainment and payment market, totaling over 55,000 tablets across 46 states and more than 1,000 restaurants. On average, 80 percent of guests in a Ziosk-enabled restaurant use the tablet, and over 60 percent of credit card users opt to pay their check through Ziosk. Altogether, the communal tablets serve over 20 million guests per month.  The tablets enable diners to browse the menu, order drinks and desserts, and quickly pay the bill.

The Applebee’s partnership with start-up company E La Carte will undoubtedly put a large dent in Ziosk’s industry statistics above. These tablets will function similarly to the Chili’s tablets – ordering capability, games, and check payment while not completely eliminating the human interaction from a server. Applebee’s stated that it’s not decreasing staffing levels post-tablet install.

So what have these tablets done for the modern restaurant diner’s experience? It depends on the individual user. However, in a highly connected world where anything is seemingly a smartphone app away, interactive games, trivia, and other entertainment designed to ‘bring family and friends together as they share a meal’ could potentially be a big hit in 2014.