Restaurants That Are So Over the Whole Human Waitstaff Thing

Keeping the whole restaurant food service scene fresh can be a challenge. These days, fewer and fewer restaurant-goers care to watch a human being simply walk food over to their table. There’s no art to simply placing one foot in front of the other and repeating the motion until you arrive where you intended to go; not when there are robots and trains and roller coasters and remote-controlled drones positioned to accomplish the same thing with a considerable bit more flair. This could be why a growing number of eateries all over the world are abandoning having human waitstaff serve food tableside, instead devising more innovative methods of getting the grub onto tables. The seven establishments listed below are well on their way to replacing "service with a smile" with "service with a level of efficiency that human servers can only dream about."
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  • Rogo’s Roller Coaster Restaurant
    3321 W McGraw St, Seattle, WA 98199
    Business Hours
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    This franchise has multiple locations worldwide including Hamburg, Germany and the Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi as well as its shiny new Vienna restaurant that opened on April 1st, 2016. How it works is simple: diners select food and beverage options from a digital menu featuring international cuisines. A short while later, Rogo’s sends the ordered apps and entrees clattering down thrill ride tracks that loop and spiral throughout its establishments. You can enjoy the spectacle of this direct kitchen-to-table transportation mode at any of its nine restaurants.

  • Eatsa
    121 Spear St (Mission St & Howard St), San Francisco, CA 94105
    Fast Food
    Business Hours
    Mon:11:00AM - 5:00PM
    Tue:11:00AM - 5:00PM
    Wed:11:00AM - 5:00PM
    Thu:11:00AM - 5:00PM
    Fri:11:00AM - 5:00PM
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    For people who prefer their Vegetarian Quinoa bowls as free of human interaction as they are of gluten, this place is a fully-automated dream come true. Orders are placed by in-house iPad, setting to work the mystical kitchen gnomes (one can only assume) that assemble the dishes before the food appears as if by sorcery in tiny cubicles fronted by transparent LCD screens. Bring credit cards, not cash, because full automation means there are no cashiers to be found (more of a plus than first glance might reveal, since no cashiers means no lengthy checkout queues). Eatsa brings the healthy to locations in L.A. and San Francisco.

  • Dalu Robot Restaurant

  • China’s first robotic hotpot restaurant, in Jinan, Shandong Province, is a place to leave at the door any debate surrounding the ethics and feasibility of tipping or not tipping your servers. All the waiters moving freely about this restaurant’s dining room are autonomous robots, an undisguised boon, since robots, for better or worse, do not concern themselves with trifles like gratuities. They greet customers with fluttering eyelashes. They ride bikes (along a predetermined track) past tables as they carry food and drinks for the taking. They even bust a move on the dance floor when the mood takes them. Best of all, these robots never get tired or steal from the till or come to work hung over after a night of clubbing. Can you say "Perfect employee"?
  • Timbre

  • When human waiters develop the ability to hover between this Singapore-based restaurant chain’s kitchens and its dining rooms, it might stop using autonomous drones. Until that time comes, all who enter here can look forward to having their meals delivered to their tables by flying remote-controlled robots capable of flying in formation throughout the restaurant. Infrared sensors enable the devices to avoid colliding with obstacles and soft human faces, so one needn’t fear walking among them en route to one’s table, the restroom, or the bar. A Western-inspired menu bears offerings like pasta, thin crust pizza, and seafood to nosh on as you enjoy the feats of aerial derring-do performed by your electronic servers.
  • All Aboard Restaurant & Grill
    6813 Cantrell Rd, Little Rock, AR 72207
    American (Traditional),Seafood,Burgers,Vegetarian
    Business Hours
    Sun:10:30AM - 8:00PM
    Mon:10:30AM - 8:00PM
    Tue:10:30AM - 8:00PM
    Wed:10:30AM - 8:00PM
    Thu:10:30AM - 8:00PM
    Fri:10:30AM - 8:00PM
    Sat:10:30AM - 8:00PM
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    At this family-oriented restaurant, the trains always run on time and every car is the “dining car”. Here, human servers are replaced by miniature engines that run along wall- and ceiling-mounted tracks overhead. Li'l ones will love watching the tiny locomotives chug along, loaded with food orders that they carry from the resturant's kitchen and drop with precision timing onto elevator platforms situated above each table. Once deposited thus, the meal order then descends via elevator to take center stage on the table below surrounded by hungry diners, and both a visual spectacle and a decent meal comprised of fare like Angus beef cheeseburgers, fried pickles, chili cheese fries, and more are enjoyed by all.

  • Hajime Restaurant

  • Thailand's first robot restaurant takes its thematic inspiration from Japanese cuisine. Yakiniku, shabu shabu, and sushi selections get served up by a robot samurai that moves back and forth along a track installed at the center of a lunch counter-like rectangle. The robot server also has the music in it; every half hour, it performs a dance routine replete with spins and arm flailing between rounds of filling its patrons' lives with sizzle and steam and umami. This robot isn't much for interaction with customers beyond its dance performances, so don't look to it for stimulating conversation. What it lacks in abilities like orating or joke-telling, though, it makes up for with its a disarming smile, and big, expressive eyes.
  • Kayabuki Tavern

  • This landmark traditional izakaya in Utsunomiya, about an hour north of Tokyo, is nothing if not unique among the entries on this list. From 8 to 10 pm nightly, the establishment enlists the services of a pair of pet macaque monkeys to deliver food and tableside amenities to its customers. The animals are said to have started seeing to guests' needs of their own volition, after watching human staffers go about their duties. Bestowing hot towels upon the guests, dropping off rounds of beer at tables, and entertaining diners by performing while wearing maid costumes and porcelain masks are just a few ways in which they attend to their guests. Like their human counterparts, the simian servers do work for gratuities, which in this case, amounts to treats of boiled soybeans. So, come for the service, stay for the floor show. And don't be stingy with the tips.

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