Fad or future? Waiterless restaurants come to China

( ) Updated: 2016-02-01 13:39:38

Fad or future? Waiterless restaurants come to China

Renrenxiang, a waiterless noodle restaurant, published a clip of CNN's report on itself on its official social media account on Sina Weibo,on Jan 4. Photo from Renrenxiang's Weibo.

Fad or future? Waiterless restaurants come to China
CNN's anchor person shows how to order food on apps, at Renrenxiang.Photo from Weibo.

For people around the world, dining out follows a similar pattern: Arrive, queue, wait to order, eat and then pay. One Chinese restaurant, however, has ripped up the rule book, and in doing so might just change the way people eat out forever.

While many restaurants go to great lengths to create a certain ambience or plate up food so that it looks more like art than a meal, noodle restaurant Renrenxiang, in Beijing's downtown Guomao, has made a name for itself by doing something all-together different.

The first thing customers notice when they arrive at the noodle restaurant is that there is something missing. While it is customary that waiters greet customers at the door and show them to a table, there is no one to do this at Renrenxiang. In fact, there are no waitstaff at all.

In place of hosts, waiters and cashiers, there is something a lot more 21st century -- a phone app. The only place with human activity is the kitchen where chefs turn digital orders into dishes.

The restaurant's app runs on WeChat, China's most popular online messaging app.

Diners order and pay with the app, wait for their number to be called and then take their own food from the counter. After eating, they deposit their crockery on a cleaning table.

Moreover, customers don't even have to be in the restaurant to order. One frequent diner, Miss Wang, who works nearby, says she orders while still in the office and takes a leisurely stroll down to the restaurant. By the time she arrives, her food is ready and she can enjoy it immediately. "It's very convenient," she says. 

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