Menu projection at Eggcellent (via Advanced Technology Labs)
Japan is the land of technology and this week that innovation has made its way to the restaurant industry, which, according to the Recruit Advanced Technology Lab, is trying to redefine customer service.
A restaurant in Tokyo called Eggcellent (which, of course, specializes in all things egg) is expected to be one of the first restaurants in the world to feature an almost human-free dining experience. The facility is expected to incorporate smart glasses, gesture interfaces, customer face identification, completely wireless payments, avatars, augmented reality, iPad-based food ordering and tracking and more.
Is it too good to be true? Well, probably. Recruit said the infrastructure is based on iBeacon, allowing a customer to enter the restaurant, view the menu, get food recommendations, order, wait for their food, select what they’d like to watch on TV and pay – all without interacting with a human wait staff.
There are a few other unique tech features offered at the café that attempt to solve the drawbacks of fine dining. For one thing, when a customer sits down at a booth, the iPad at the table will wirelessly sync with their social media accounts, giving them their friends’ favorite dishes at that establishment. With this, the software also keeps a running toll of the order in which each customer’s dish come out of the kitchen, so no one wonders when their food is going to make it to their table.
The dining technology features a Kinect sensor, PC assists, Wii remote, projector and microphone to give users an interactive experience. TV screens in the restaurant are equipped with the technologies, enabling customers to change the station, order food from a virtual server and more, all wirelessly. While there was no talk of incorporating gaming into the restaurant, the possibility certainly isn’t far off.
A virtual dining experience may sound like something off in the distant future, but incorporating the technology into the everyday dining experience makes a lot of sense. For one thing, the technology pays for itself because restaurants can downsize their wait staff. Secondly, the customer will never have to wait for a busy waiter to take their order, or wonder when their food will arrive. There is certainly a very relevant place for human waiters in the restaurant industry, but incorporating both man and machine can produce the optimum dining experience of the future.
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