The Mechanized Restaurant

British inventor Thomas Maldwyn Lewis and his partners apparently had some expertise in conveyor-belt technology. So they cast about for novel ways to apply this knowledge. What they came up with was the "mechanized restaurant". Their idea was to put diners on a conveyor belt and move them past serving stations. From their 1948 patent:

In accordance with our invention, the customers are provided with seats and if desired footrests moving in a continuous manner along with a table or like surface, the different courses being placed upon the table at definite positions in the travel of the table so that when the traverse of any particular seat is completed, the occupant has completed his meal and may move to a seat in a lounge or the like to rest and/or to finish his meal with a coffee or the like which may be supplied just before the said traverse is completed.

The inventors argued that this mechanization of the dining experience would "expedite the delivery of meals and enable more meals to be served with the use of a given floor area than is at present possible."

That may be true, but I doubt many restaurant owners would want to invest the money to build one of these, just for the sake of potentially serving a few more meals.

Not to mention the problem of slow eaters. I'm imagining a crowd of diners standing at the end of the conveyor belt, plates in hand, trying to finish their meals.
     Posted By: Alex - Sun Feb 21, 2021
     Category: Restaurants | Technology | Patents | 1940s

Japan took this idea an reversed it. The diners stay put, but conveyors bring dishes past. If you like what you see, grab it, scan the plate bottom and eat up. You can also order specific dishes, which come directly to the scanning plate.
There have been restaurants love me this in the USA as well. Delivery mechanisms vary. Beside conveyers, there are model railroads with your food on flatcars, UFOS hanging from the ceiling that lower your order like Perseverance landing, and I'm sure other variants.
Posted by Mike on 02/21/21 at 11:56 AM
It is much easier to have the food move, as numerous restaurants, primarily Japanese and Chinese have shown:
Posted by Stan on 02/21/21 at 12:07 PM
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