I was out and about, navigating the crevasses and corners of The Florida Mall, when a couple pals and I stumbled upon something wonderful. An unassuming stand next to the necessary Starbucks contained a culinary revolution, something that opened my eyes to the future of food service.
I sat down at the bar counter, not ready for what was about to come next. I heard a faint whirring and after a moment, plate after plate of sushi came whizzing past me. The waitress now standing behind asked if we had been here before but when we turned around, mouth agape, I think she got the hint. She started her explanation she had most likely practiced on thousands of other customers. The plates were all color-coordinated. The warmer the color, the more expensive the sushi. The food is brought right to our table by way of these incredible conveyor belts that weave through two sections of booths and this bar section that we were seated at. Above the bar where they served drinks and assembled the little fish packages were a series of televisions showcasing the various kinds of sushi that could be pulled off the belt.
This style of sushi delivery is known as kurukurusushi, or by the more colorful name sushi-go-round. This conveyor belt method of serving food is apparently not new, having been used to serve sushi in Japan since the 1980s, but as I ate the sushi I couldn’t help but think how much this could be used in other restaurants and other business models. Think of all the ways this could be implemented in your day to day life. With the minimum wage increasing, businesses could turn to this kind of model instead of paying for more workers. Imaging grabbing a Big Mac off a production line, or some chicken nuggets, or maybe a rare breakfast item still hanging around. Heck, businesses could use this kind of system. Does Jody in HR need a stapler? Put it on the conveyor belt -- it’ll get to her eventually. And don’t get me started with how buffets should use this stuff.
Even the pricing structure was inventive. Everything was a la carte and you could grab how much or how little you wanted. You pay for what you grab. I was amazed at the various combinations of ingredients that the rolls on offer contained. They had it all, from basic California rolls to the fittingly-titled Angry Bird that featured spicy sweet potato topping and a delicious sauce. Sushi is honestly the perfect food for this kind of mechanism because of its easy to make, quick to serve nature. It may not save well, but if no one has grabbed it in the time that it comes out, you can just trash it.
We paid the waitress, stepped out of the booth and immediately we couldn’t stop chattering about how good the decision we made was. It wasn’t too expensive and we were all struck at just how convenient the method of delivery was. The rest of the day I just couldn’t stop thinking about this wonderful future that we could see in front of us, and the taste of tuna on my tongue.