No matter how good the food may be in any restaurant, as long as the service is insufficient, customers might leave unsatisfied. People often get tired of waiting to be served and particularly frustrated when human waiters get the order wrong and bring an erroneous dish. These were the precise thoughts and experiences of the owners of London Soho’s Inamo restaurant, where customers have touchpads at their disposal to order dishes. Inamo is a pioneering Oriental fusion restaurant and bar where the control of the dining experience is placed firmly in the guest’s hands.
Above the tables there are projectors to obtain the virtual display, and there is a circular touchpad to allow for navigation in the menu, which includes pictures of the appetizers, main courses, even drinks. Ordering is as simple as pointing and clicking, and a wait-person will deliver your meal to you.
From the moment a customer sits down, the user can then select their “placemat” like selecting wallpaper for Windows. The interactive system also allows customers to choose the décor of the restaurant, depending on their mood. They are able to select from a range of animated sounds and choose different types of lighting and colors for the table. It is a little bit like being in your own living room, at your own computer, yet with the benefit of enjoying luxury food whilst somebody brings it to the table you have chosen.
The interactive style of Inamo does not mean that the food is not superb. The famous chef Alexander Ziverts is one of the best Oriental fusion chefs specializing in Japanese, Thai and Chinese food. Just in case guests become curious about how their food is being prepared, they can always refer to the live feed to the kitchen via their touchpads. Restaurant staff is also at hand to help people; just they are not as relied upon as elsewhere.
The touchpad system is perfect to suit a range of moods. If the evening is going well and a couple is, for example, on a date then romantic music can be played during the meal. If things are not quite going so well, then a range of games are available on the interactive system. If things end up being disastrous, or if both decide to leave, the touchpad also allows guests to order a taxi home.
So is the Inamo the wave of the future when it comes to restaurants? Of course, one has to ask if mixing too much technology removes the human element of restaurants. Do you want a robot to bring out your meal? Many would probably ask how well the robot can do the job, and if it requires tips.
Inamo, 134-136 Wardour Street, Soho, London, W1F 8ZP, UK