The iPad ordering system lets customers know exactly what they are getting and for what price. (File photo/CNS)
Seafood restaurants in the resort city of Sanya in the southern Chinese island province of Hainan are now required by the local government to use iPads to enter customers’ food orders in order to avoid overcharging.
The government plans to use the new iPad ordering system to monitor restaurant pricing of seafood, which is often expensive and variable.
The change comes months after a price-gouging scandal during the Spring Festival holidays triggered public outrage. Some restaurants in Sanya, a popular tourist destination especially during the Chinese New Year’s holiday, were accused of overcharging tourists for their specialty seafood dishes.
Under the new system, customers will read the menu and place their own orders using iPads. Their orders will then be sent directly to the kitchen via WiFi. The new system will also allow officials to monitor sales information, said Wan Qiongyun, spokesman for the Sanya Administration for Industry and Commerce.
The new ordering system is easier to monitor, said Wan, adding that diners can also see what they have ordered, including the price of each item.
Among more than 200 seafood restaurants in Sanya, over 20 have already implemented the electronic ordering system.
"It’s so fashionable to use an iPad to order dishes. I think it should be promoted," said Zhang Hui, a tourist in Sanya.
"I don’t think the new system can eliminate the overcharging phenomenon. Especially for older people, most of them cannot use an iPad. I believe the traditional way is better for them," said Li Xiaoping.
The new program is part of a broader government effort to restore confidence among tourists. Other measures the city has adopted include integrity education, daily inspections and publicizing certain information about restaurants.

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