bryan knight doing stuff on the internets.

8Apr/081

waiter-less restaurant: about time

I have long wondered why we haven't seen a restaurant where I order from a touch screen and the foot is brought out to me. I think part of the reason is personally I don't like being 'served' all that much, being waited on. Not that I can't handle it, but I just don't care. Not to say that I don't have positive experiences with wait staff, but I could do without it.

So I always thought that a place where you place your order via a touch screen or something would be dope. Then have a runner bring the food out. Still have a staff to refill water and bus tables. And a call button would be good, but that would be it. Then I can do what I wanted to do all along at the resturant: eat and hang out with the person/people I came with.

When I would propose this idea to friends/family, I was always presented with the 'but where is the social interaction?' and 'but that seems so cold and lonely', etc. The same response I used to get to the concept of peapod, netflix, etc. Am I to understand than that people are willing to be more inconvenienced doing mundane albeit necessary tasks so they can revel in the social interaction with the cashier at the grocery store? The blockbuster employee?

Having been a grocery store employee, I am not sure I agree with that. While I tried to be friendly, primarily because it would make my day go faster, it was hardly the interaction that I would get excited for. And I have known blockbuster employees. They rarely liked their job, and they were rarely over 20.

My retort was always that the time savings from eliminating the time suck of many 'low quality' social interaction level tasks, like grocery shopping, movie rentals, brick and mortar shopping, etc would free up time to create 'high quality' social interaction, like dinner parties, play dates, hanging out with friends, etc.

Of course my parents still scoffed at the concept, but I maintain it is true. And with that time savings, some friends and I could go to this new automated resturant: Baggers restaurant in Nuremberg. While it is kind of a hike from chicago, it is the kind of place I would be all about. He even has an automated track system to deliver the food. I am not sure that is necessary, but I am sure that will be a draw for customers, so I am sure it will make people more inclined to visit.

I am not sure that I see the design/implementation of the track system to be cheaper the cost of food runners alá my idea anytime in the first few years of operation, but I am sure that wasn't his plan. I would like to see his place take off and do quite well. I would like to see more resturants like this. I will admit I always kinda thought that japan already had such restaurants, although I don't recall seeing any when I was there or reading of any however I haven't looked too hard.

So while I don't wish that every resturant goes the way of Bangers, I would like to see some here. I would give it a shot. Anyone know of any here in Chicago?

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  1. I agree with you, there is so much about servers that can be done without. Do you think we are taking them for granted a little bit, though? I’m just sayin’ a call button isn’t the same as a person on the floor with eyes, you feel me?


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