Un-Serviced Service: The Future of Restaurants & Cafes?

Internationally, there’s a wave of hospitality businesses experimenting with technology to reinvent their service experience, which is also having the effect of slashing their labour costs. Whilst some of the examples we’ve referenced below might seem extreme, further industry disruption by technology is inevitable. So is un-serviced service the way of the future or are relationships & human interaction a critical part of the service experience that should be bypassed with extreme caution? We’d love to hear your thoughts – so please reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter to join the discussion.

Roller-Coaster Ride

Being billed as the world’s first automated restaurant located in a nondescript industrial building on the outskirts of Nuremberg in Bavaria, ‘s Baggers has opened a restaurant that feature fully automated ordering and table service and has eliminated all need for human interaction – the only one left to blame for a screwed up order is YOU.

Hobby cook, iron foundry guru and a stranger to the business of dining, Michael Mack came up with his own idea:  specially made hotpots would slide down 15-foot steel spirals, using the forces of gravity, before coming to a slow stop on rails slanted upwards at the customers’ tables.

For the hell-of-a-ride, Mack installed the kitchen directly beneath the roof of the multistory restaurant. Customers order their meals via touch-screen that are systematically placed at each table, and the entire restaurant is networked via a computer system. Customer orders are registered in a color-coded scheme upstairs in the kitchen and a computer in the cellar keeps track of supply stocks.  Estimated arrival times are communicated and the food and drinks glide down spiral rails when finished.

To see this in action you can check out this link.

Land of the Rising Robot

From cars to video game consoles, Japan maintains its reputation as a leader in technological advancement.

Taking the human-dominated world of hospitality to all that technology and efficiency – that is Japan, most restaurants have incorporated the TEC-designed pop-up Tobidasu Menu built into their tables.

With this 3D LCD menu system, you can “Build” your food, or if you take it as is, you’ll at least be able to see what you’re getting.  Customers sitting at the table won’t need to interact with the wait staff, saving the restaurants’ labour bill and eliminating communication errors, especially for tourists. Guests can browse through 3D images of the menu which can make selection a lot easier.

Another buzz in Tokyo, is an un-named sushi restaurant that is fully automated, where special dishes are ordered via tablets and food is delivered on high-speed conveyor belts. Its kitchen computers are constantly monitoring how many customers are dining and which dishes are most popular and therefore need to be added to the conveyor belt.

As an added bonus to its already entertaining ordering system, on every fifth meal ordered by the guest, the touchscreen through which orders are placed triggers a prize winning game. Once guests are finished eating their meal, they can simply dispose the dishes in a chute which sends them away for washing, and also serves as a ‘cashier’, tallying up the bill.

Touchscreen Festive

Although Inamo Restaurant in London still have their staff bring your food to your table and are available for any query, Inamo is still a one-of-a-kind  experience where interaction between a guest and waiting staff are kept to a minimum.

Individual touchscreens are set on the tables where guests can select a Pan-Asian menu. Via an overhead projector, you can actually view how your dish would look like presented on your plate – and that’s already a feast for your eyes (but don’t eat with your eyes just yet!).  Aside from the food menu, one can enjoy this interactive experience in more ways.  Guests can play their preferred music in their booth and select a variety of digital “tablecloth” that looks better with their food (talk about food-pairing).

While waiting for the food to arrive, guests can watch those mighty chefs prepare dishes on ‘chef cam’,  familiarize the way to the toilet via it’s map, check out other vital information such as events, nightlife hubs and even a request for a taxi!

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