What costs will be expensed versus capitalized in Applebee’s investment in tableside tablets for its restaurants?

applebeesAt Applebee’s, Presto tablets by E la Carte are being installed at every table. In total, Applebee’s will be purchasing 100,000 tablets. Customers will be able to pay their food bill and order appetizers and desserts using the tablets. 

In addition to the initial purchase price of the tablet hardware and various other costs, Applebee’s will be paying E la Carte a subscription fee for the use and upkeep of the tablets.

Data and assumptions

Use the following assumptions for data for this exercise (all figures are assumptions only):

  1. Each tablet has an initial purchase price of $250
  2. The annual subscription fee per tablet is $50
  3. The cost to run wiring to all tables for the tablet is $4,000,000
  4. The cost of brackets to attach the tablets to the tables is $3,400,000
  5. Initial training of staff on the use of the tablets $5,000,000
  6. Additional annual IT costs incurred for tablet maintenance and updates is $225,000
  7. The useful life of the tablets is four years.  Ignore depreciation and taxes.


Which of Applebee’s expenditures for the tablets will be expensed?  Which will be capitalized?

Instructor Resources

These resources are provided to give the instructor flexibility for use of Accounting in the Headlines articles in the classroom. The blog posting itself can be assigned via a link to this site OR by distributing the student handout below.  Alternatively, the PowerPoint file below contains a bullet point overview of the article and the discussion questions.  The YouTube video link below is a narration of the blog post article (no discussion questions are included in the YouTube video; those can be assigned separately.)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

About Dr. Wendy Tietz, CPA, CMA, CSCA, CGMA

Dr. Wendy Tietz is a professor of accounting at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, USA. She is also a textbook author with Pearson Education.

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