What is it with Germans re-enforcing their own stereotypes? The country known for efficiency and automation, birthplace of the automat, has now debuted a new kind of mechanical restaurant that uses a fantastic series of tracks, screens and conveyor belts to deliver fresh, often locally sourced food. From the BBC:
Supersonic sausages, high-pace pancakes and wine bottles whizzing down to the customers’ tables with the help of good old gravity. One pot is spiralling down so fast, it looks like an Olympic bobsleigh (but it’s only Bratwurst).
What’s more, at the ‘s Baggers restaurant in Nuremberg, you don’t need waiters to order food. Customers use touch-screen TVs to browse the menu and choose their meal….
Up in the kitchen, it is man, not machine, that makes the food. They haven’t found a way of automating the chef, just yet…
Then it is put on the rails and despatched downhill to the correct table. Manna from heaven, German-style.
The restaurant is the brainchild of local businessman Michael Mack.
“I wanted to come up with a complete new restaurant system,” Michael tells me, “one that would be more efficient and more comfortable”.
While this automated restaurant may be new, the concept of mechanical food delivery is anything but. Of course, vending machines dole out just about everything that can be packaged individually. And in the Netherlands, German-invented automats are still popular. These coin-operated devices serve hot food through a wall of little boxes with a kitchen behind. According to Wikipedia, they went out of style in most of Europe and the U.S., but in New York, a new automat, Bamn!, opened in 2006.
We don’t think the waiters of the world need to worry too much about their job security in the face of this latest development in automated foodservice. It is fascinating, though, and as the BBC reporter (who strangely doesn’t get a by-line in this story) points out, there is no need for a tip in an automated restaurant.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., we’re working on new ways to hilariously add steps to the food preparation process. What if Michael Mack and the Rube Goldberg competition guys got together on a project? The result could be the most entertaining mechanical comedy of a restaurant ever. We really hope they consider it.
Fast Food, German-Style [BBC News]
’s Baggers restaurant [Official Site]
Burgers The Excruciating Way [Menupages Blog]
Bamn! [Official Site]
Photo from ‘s Baggers’ Website