In Tokyo, Japan, there’s a restaurant that has no waiters whatsoever. With kitchen staff, tablets and automated conveyor belts it’s the eatery that runs itself.
Think of the last restaurant you went to. Like most fine dining establishments it likely saw you sitting at the table, waiting for over 10 minutes for your meal while your empty stomach rumbled hungrily away in the direction of the complimentary breadsticks. In fact, like some eateries, it may have even taken over half an hour just to get waiter service before and after your meal. Even in so called ‘fast food’ emporiums such as McDonald’s, diners be privy to long wait times and queues that even Ronald McDonald’s bad jokes couldn’t dispel. But now, in a restaurant in Japan, the service is quick, the food is good and, the service is almost entirely computerised.
Situated in Tokyo, the restaurant, visited by BBC correspondent, Spencer Kelly, is almost devoid of any human staff – specifically waiters – other than those who actually cut, cook and prepare the meals in the eatery’s kitchen. Fascinatingly, similar to plenty of sushi restaurants in Japan, conveyor belts line the dining space, allowing diners to pick and choose what they wish to eat, or, they can take advantage of the provided tablet and order themselves a specific meal. This is then transferred over to the kitchen area where they then prepare the meal and send it directly to you on one of those aforementioned conveyor belts. Even the tablets in the kitchen are hi-tech, providing the chefs with data about which meals are most popular, allowing them to prepare them in advance.
The restaurant also challenges sushi restaurant conventions in how the meal is paid for. While most sushi restaurants in Japan typically see you paying at the end based on what you’ve removed from the conveyor belt, in this special place of dining, it calculates the fee as you throw your plates down a shoot, already knowing what you’ve eaten and how much that will cost you. In a fun twist on the dining experience, throwing five plates down the shoot will even give you the chance to win prizes via a game on a tablet next to your table. If this is the future of food, then consider us sold.
We’ll keep you posted once we know more.