Food Pops Out of Table Tops in Cafeteria (Apr, 1940)

Food Pops Out of Table Tops in Cafeteria

Food ordered by customers in a novel automatic restaurant recently proposed by a hotel man, pops up out of the center of each table. On entering the restaurant, the diner sits at a table having in its center what appears to be merely a tray. To order his meal, he checks off items of a special card provided for the purpose, which he then drops through a handy slot in the table. Sliding down through a chute to the restaurant kitchen below, the card is picked up, and the order filled. When ready, the meal is placed on shelves of a small elevator, which hauls the food up to the table and deposits it in front of the customer, as shown in the lower photograph at the left.

  1. Grant says: October 11, 20078:33 am

    Were people really that desperate to avoid human contact back then? I mean automation is nice and all, but someone still had to collect the card, cook the meal, plate the food, then deliver the plates to the “elevator”…

    That being said, I always found the Automat concept to be really cool:…

    …but that’s not custom-cooked meals, that’s more like a giant vending machine.

  2. Blurgle says: October 13, 200712:06 am

    The big thing was to avoid tipping in any way, form, or shape.

    What the younger generation doesn’t realize (and often refuses to even listen to) is that many people who grew up before the Second World War are convinced that tipping is morally indefensible. They don’t care one iota that servers aren’t paid minimum wages or that they’re taxed based on receiving a certain amount as tips. Their idea is that if you can’t live on the wage you’re given, don’t run around begging customers to pay you more; get a new job.

    My parents would literally get sick to their stomachs at the idea of tipping a delivery boy or a restaurant waiter. They thought of it as a combination of begging, extortion, and prostitution, and to support it by giving a tip was morally wrong.

  3. Village Idiot says: October 16, 20074:27 pm

    Hmm, guess that’s why the older folks get such bad service so often; those of us who’ve served the public in the past know where we ain’t getting any tips from, and serve accordingly.

    Anyway, after having peeked into my duct work occasionally, I know I’d never want anything I ate to have to pass through any kind of chute or duct or anything enclosed and hard to clean…

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