Hong Kong is home to the world’s first fully-automated sushi restaurant: Genki Sushi uses bullet trains to deliver fresh food to diners’ tables..
Genki Sushi pioneered the sushi train concept back in 1968, inventing the conveyor belt system to have dishes circulating around diners – a buffet concept where the food comes to you rather than vice versa.
The model quickly took hold around the world and Genki Sushi was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1991 before beginning an international expansion which included Hong Kong in 1995.
Its newest store – in Tsuen Wan Plaza – features a major technological advance of the 1968 conveyor concept: a three tier kousoku (speed train) where trains shaped like models of the famous Japanese Bullet train zip back and forth from kitchen to tables, delivering food ordered on an iPad.
The automated system knows how to deliver the food to the right seat thanks to RFID chips embedded underneath the plates.
There are 24 lines installed in the store and the system can simultaneously serve to to 158 people.
There is also a takeaway facility where customers can order food on a tablet, pay by Octopus card or PayWave and have their meals delivered on rails to the store entrance.
Genki Sushi, with 40 stores, the largest sushi train restaurant chain in Hong Kong, plans more automated stores in both the business district and suburbs.
No word yet on whether the automated eateries will be launched in the company’s other Asian markets, including Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan.