The restaurant business is a challenging one.
But in New York, the owners of one say business is booming after they revived the old-fashioned “automat.”
Michael George of CBS New York has the story for this week’s Money Monday.
A visit to the Brooklyn dumpling shop might be confusing — there’s no cashier; no waitstaff.
You’ll find menu items in these little heated lockers, a reboot of a 100-year-old concept called an automat.
“Technology killed the automat. It’s time for technology to bring back the automat,” said Brooklyn Dumpling Shop co-founder Stratis Morfogen.
Automats started in the early 1900s and looked something like a giant vending machine. Customers put in coins to pull out their selection.
But the automat’s popularity faded and eventually they shutdown.
Morfogen says this modern automat has some updates.
First, customers use their phones to order. The food is cooked, then it goes into the locker. A text alert tells customers their order is ready for pick-up using a QR code.
“We’re respecting your time. If you go to our web, place an order, pick a time — you could come in and out in 10 seconds.”
The concept has customer appeal.
“I like to run late, so they keep it warm and hot for me, that’d be perfect,” one customer said.
“I think it’s amazing, and I think it’s really something for the future,” said another.
Morfogen says with just three employees, they can serve 200 to 300 customers a day.
They’ve invested in this idea from the past being the future of restaurants.
“I believe this will save our industry. When we get like the TikTok generation of the 15 to 30-year-olds. They come in and they’re super comfortable with this concept because they live off their phone,” he said.