Browse Prior Art Database

Consumer Electronic Services to Order

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000014215D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Oct-24
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-19
Document File: 2 page(s) / 59K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

The current business method for a merchant to provide a service to a customer is for the merchant to become very involved with the transaction. For example, the customer walks into a restaurant to try to obtain a table, or telephones in advance to reserve a table. Often a table is not currently available and one has to wait. Finally the customer gets a menu and the server verbally presents changes to the menu, takes the order, etc. All these activities are labor-intensive, and the interaction between merchant and customer can be unpleasant at times.

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Consumer Electronic Services to Order

The current business method for a merchant to provide a service to a customer is for the merchant to become very involved with the transaction. For example, the customer walks into a restaurant to try to obtain a table, or telephones in advance to reserve a table. Often a table is not currently available and one has to wait. Finally the customer gets a menu and the server verbally presents changes to the menu, takes the order, etc. All these activities are labor-intensive, and the interaction between merchant and customer can be unpleasant at times.

A new business method in which a mobile wireless device, such as a PDA, streamlines the existing business method, makes it more consumer-friendly, and reduces the service provider's costs. Furthermore, the wireless device can be used to notify the customer when a requested service has been completed, allowing the customer to spend his "wait time" in other productive activities such as shopping in other parts of the mall.

Take a sitdown restaurant for example. The wireless device may query the restaurant to determine how long the wait for a table will be, place a reservation for a table, query the number of individuals waiting in front of one's position in the queue, and be informed wirelessly when the table is ready -- all without interaction with a merchant's representative. One can peruse the menu even prior to placing a request for a table, to determine if one wants to dine there. The menu can be translated to the customer's preferred language, with preferences highlighted and certain items not displayed at all. I.e., the individual who doesn't care for mushrooms wouldn't be shown the special tonight on crabmeat-stuffed mushrooms.

In a fast food drive-through, our new business method provides for wirelessly querying the food queue. The customer might want a fish but if in a big hurry and fish is not available, one could order a chicken sandwich instead. The customer order...