Cutting-edge technological advances help most industries grow and develop, whether by improving how car manufacturers design their engines or by creating new bank services to make account management easier for customers. So it’s no surprise that some restaurants are employing innovative technology to enhance the dining experience.
In Jinan, China, and Bangkok, Thailand, two restaurants are using robots to wait on tables and greet diners. In New York City customers can dine on locally sourced fruits and vegetables grown and harvested in the rooftop garden above the restaurant, and then transported down the building's stories using a vertical planting system and a pulley. And in San Francisco, diners can order their grilled cheese sandwiches on their phone and swipe their order in when they pick up their meal thanks to a customized QR code.
Many restaurants these days are using tablets to streamline the ordering process — either by having their waitstaff send orders directly to the kitchen or by having diners order for themselves, but the restaurants on this list are taking things a few steps further. At Inamo restaurant in London, customers are in control of their entire dining experience — an interactive touch-screen table allows them to do everything from choosing their meals to ordering a cab to drive them home afterward.
Hajime Robot Restaurant, Bangkok
Similar to the Dalu Robot Restaurant, Hajime also employs robots as their waitstaff. Diners sit facing a glass enclosure where the robots move back and forth on a track and serve customers through windows. The restaurant offers a menu of nearly 100 authentic Japanese dishes and the "servers" are designed to make gestures and expressions and can even dance along to music. In the back of the house, Hajime has two robots to help prep food.
4Food, New York City
This health-conscious fast-food outlet uses iPad technology to guide customers through the ordering process. They start with the burger patty, which is shaped like a doughnut and comes in seven varieties, then the scoop — fillings that go in the center of the patty — then the toppings and the bun. The iPad ordering system is meant to make the decisions easier for customers. The restaurant also features a large smart board that records social media interactions, like Foursquare check-ins and Facebook likes.
Inamo Restaurant, London
This restaurant located in London’s SoHo neighborhood features cutting-edge technology on every table — virtual table, that is. Diners get to control every step of their meal, using the interactive touch-screen table. When you’re ready to order, photos of the dishes on the menu get projected onto the screen, and once you’ve placed your food and drink order you can play a game or even watch the chef prepare your meal via webcam. When it’s time to head home, patrons can pay through the table and can even order a taxi to drive them home.
‘s Baggers, Nuremberg, Germany
The concept behind this innovative restaurant is automation, and nearly everything (except for the chefs cooking the food) in included in the theme. Tables are attached to metal rails that are connected to the kitchen on the floor above, and the food and drinks are delivered via the rails. Diners order through touch-screen tablets at the table; the system also communicates with the kitchen staff and the diners to give estimated delivery times.
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