Thursday, August 30, 2007

Are you ready for the self-service restaurant?

RetailWire has a neat article (free registration required) on a concept restaurant that recently opened in Germany. Called Baggers, the shop positions itself as the restaurant of the retro-future, and has customers place orders via touchscreen, with a complex system of rails and trolleys used to deliver food right to the table.

Never mind that the interior of the place looks like Rube Goldberg tried to redesign Chutes and Ladders, my question is whether people are ready for a do-it-yourself restaurant experience outside of a QSR or fast-casual environment?

I have to admit that I'm a sucker for gimmicks, so I'd probably give the restaurant a shot just so I could see my order whizzing across the restaurant and down to my place setting, but after that, I'm not so sure. What happens if I drop a fork and need a new one? Is there an easy way to order a drink refill? What if I spill something?

One of the nice things about going to a sit-down dining establishment is that you know that there's a small army of people waiting on you -- literally. That's why we (or I, at least) get upset when service is lousy -- it's like we've been betrayed. So while the Baggers concept certainly looks cool, I have a lot of questions that I'd want answered before settling on whether it's a good idea or not.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Check out - they have a new product that:

1. Takes the order using touch screen picture menus
2. Processes the credit card
3. If card comes back approved, it fires the order to the kitchen for preparation.

It can run in standalone mode or be connected with their FreePOS touch screen system.

The kiosk was demonstrated to us embedded in a guest table with the idea being fewer waiters would be required.

It's supposed to be released pretty soon.