If you see a guy staring at a machine in the front of a restaurant, he’s probably not waiting, he’s probably ordering.
Mostly found in ramen, udon , and beef bowl restaurants, the automated vending machine is the common way to order your meal.
These machines are also super popular at the parking and rest areas along the highways in Japan.
Usually located just outside, or at the entrance to the restaurant, a customer inserts money into the machine and proceeds to order the food they want.
After you choose your food, you receive small tickets which you then hand over to the staff.
This system is useful for restaurants with only one or two employees especially during busy times.
They can focus on preparing the meals rather than having to walk around outside the kitchen and wait on tables.
It’s also useful because it ensures payment up front, thus, avoiding any trouble with super drunk customers at night ,
and customers can take their time looking at the menu outside. Of course, if you want to re-order something, you can do that directly with the staff inside.
It’s just another way that technology is helping the small business owner in daily practical life.
It’d be cool to see these for hamburgers, burritos, dumplings and other international foods. Hmmm…business chance?
Well, it’s probably not the right system for everyone, but it’s definitely a system that could be put to better use across the world…not just in Japan.
Anyways, if you walk into a ramen store and see one of these, make sure you buy your tickets before you sit down.
You’ll save yourself some embarrassment. ; )