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iPad menus: Restaurants look to cash in

There's a new addition to your dinner table at some restaurants across the country: iPads. Some eateries are trying out the high-tech devices as menus, while others are making forays into iPad ordering.

But is the tech route the best way to serve customers?

On "The Early Show," Julie Watts, of CBS San Francisco station KPIX-TV, reported that some restaurants are weighing the pros and cons of the tablet technology in the dining sphere.

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The Lark Creek Steak Restaurant in San Francisco is in the preliminary testing stages of interactive iPad menus. And so far, the reactions have been favorable. In addition to high-resolution photos, there are detailed descriptions of each dish along with prices, wine parings, and even the temperature of your meat.

Rajit Marwah, who developed the iPad menu now being tested there, says he's working on the future of dining.

But he's just one of many looking to capitalize on the emergence of tablet technology.

From other steak houses in Atlanta and Chicago to burger joints in Los Angeles, touchscreen menus are popping up from coast to coast. And while the tablets do vary in design and function, there seems to be one common denominator. So far, Marwah says, sales nationwide have increased by as much as 10 percent.

He says, "The reason is because when consumers have more information, they feel more comfortable."

At Barbacco, in San Francisco's Financial District, they've had iPad wine lists for more than a year.

Barbacco manager Umberto Gibin told CBS News people buy more wine by the glass with the iPad menus. He says sales are up between five and seven percent.

Although Lark Creek Steak Restaurant saw an initial jump in sales, they're not completely sold on the device, which is projected to cost about $2 per day, per menu.

Charles Low, general manager of Lark Creek said, "It's gonna take a lot of extra steaks to be sold to pay for a technology that is as advanced as this."

And at the San Francisco establishment Low runs, customers still order through a waiter.

Rob Black, of The Golden Gate Restaurant Association, says waiters may be irreplaceable.

Black said, "There will always be a role for the human component. When done well, they complement each other. I think it goes back to, what experience does that customer want?"

Watts added that the customers she met still want a waiter -- with the technology on the side.

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