One of the most novel, convenient, and custom dining experiences I have come across in all of my travels can be found popping up in restaurants in and around Tokyo. These hybrid systems of food ordering and delivery are truly an entertaining spectacle while you eat. Technology and food combine to offer a truly ‘wired-in,’ Japanese experience.
To start off when you walk into one of these wired-in establishments, you will see sushi and other little items are being served on a conveyer belt system; rotating around all the customers, enticing them to pluck one of the multi-colored plates off to be consumed. Each color plate has a respective price, and a tally of your plates will be totaled after you are thru to ready your bill. If you are not seeing what you are looking for rotating around at the moment, simply look up to the tablet mounted above you and scroll through items and put them into your cart. Usually a maximum amount of items can be ordered at a time like four or five, and then you press the order button which is immediately sent to the waiting chefs in the kitchen.
Running directly through the middle of everyone is a little ‘shinkansen’ delivery system. This little train promptly delivers your food to you straight from the chef, to your seat. When your order has arrived, a light will blink; you take your items off the train, and press the button located beside the screen to send the little guy back to fetch the next order to be delivered.
Drinks and soups are also ordered on the individual touch screens mounted above you, but those will be delivered by hand as not to make a mess. You are also given a teacup when you sit, and in front of you, you are equipped with a hot water dispenser as well as a canister of powder tea for you to mix up a fresh steamy cup of rejuvenation.
I think why I found this so interesting is how technology if being implemented into our everyday lives right before our eye to make things easier, more convenient, and customized. Even though there is still someone running the front of the house duties to give that personal touch and feel, everything runs much smoother and efficient with this system deployed. I can see eventually with systems like this combined with Apple Pay, servers at restaurants may become a thing of the past…