Last week I went with a client to a fancy restaurant. For the wine list, we geeked out on an iPad.

Seems like a perfect match. You can look at regions, match it up with your dinner choices, build a tool that incorporates the preferences of the table, update the inventory on the fly and delete a wine from the list when it’s sold out.

You can double-geek out and use your iPhone to compare prices. Very cool, right?

When you appeal to rationality, you pay dearly for it

Once you get people into a data mode, they will become hyper-rational and search for the optimum solution. Suddenly you’re chasing the deal. What’s the best price/value ratio? The enjoyment of the wine is equal to the deal you get.

When you tell a story, people will pay for it.

Buying an expensive bottle of wine in a restaurant is irrational. People don’t care as long as you offer them a buying experience. And that experience can’t live on an iPad; it’s a real-life experience. The stories the sommelier tells about the individual wines, the opening ritual, the human interaction with the sommelier, the sniffing of the cork. That is the real value of the purchase for the bottle. And the profit margin that will either make or break your restaurant.

Tell your story to the right people in the right place.

An iPad wine list is cool. But it doesn’t belong in a restaurant and doesn’t speak to the right people. An iPad loaded with product information in a waiting area while your car is being serviced is also cool. And it tells the right story to the right people.