Unmanned drones are no longer used just for surveillance and counter-terrorism, drones are serving customers at the Yo! Sushi chain of restaurants on a trial basis. The mini helicopter has four rotors and can travel at up to 25 miles an hour, or more than six times a waiter’s usual walking speed.
Known as the iTray made from a light-weight carbon fiber frame, the drone is controlled with an iPad, which restaurant staff angle in the direction they want the food to travel. Staff load the tray, fly it to a customer’s table up to 50 yards away, and return it when the food has been removed.
Mail Online reports there are currently just two of the devices in operation at the chain’s Soho branch in central London.
“When I ordered the burger I never imagined it would come flying towards me on a tray,” said a London customer.
“It was amazing and the weirdest thing, like something out of a science fiction novel. It was delivered as if by magic, like an alien flying saucer bringing food directly onto my table.”
If use of the drone is successful, all 64 of Yo! Sushi’s UK restaurants will be using them next year. Yo! Sushi was also the first UK chain to introduce conveyor belt service and speaking robot drinks trolleys.
Waitress Gabriella Micu, 28, said: It’s really fun for customers and I hope we can get to the point where we can serve guests from the central kitchen as it would definitely help to cut down the time walking around the restaurant.’
The company claims it has launched the iTray to promote the release of their new burger, which replaces the traditional bun with Japanese toasted rice. The beef patty is also substituted for teriyaki chicken, kimchi salmon, prawn katsu, tilapia katsu (whitefish) or tofu katsu.
Mike Lewis, YO! Sushi executive chef, said they’ve been training the Soho team for several weeks to get them used to working with their new flying drone.
“With the YO! Burger, we wanted to introduce our customers something entirely new, inspired by Japan and exclusive to us. It’s taken several months to develop, a raft of new kitchen equipment, but with the YO! Burger and iTray we know guests will feel like they’ve had a taste of the future.”
Domino’s Tests Drone Pizza Delivery
Last month, Domino’s revealed a drone capable of delivering pizzas. A Domino’s franchise in the United Kingdom posted a video of the unmanned “DomiCopter” actually delivering two pizzas in the company’s signature Heatwave bags.
“A similar idea called the TacoCopter — an app that would dispatch a drone to deliver a taco to your door — went viral last year, but the service is illegal under U.S. law. Federal Aviation Administration rules ban unmanned aircraft like drones from being used for commercial purposes.” (It turned out to be a hoax, but we can dream…)
Drone To Deliver Dry Cleaning
Drones, remote-controlled devices used by the US military to target enemies and capture aerial images, have also made their way to a small business in Philadelphia.
Manayunk Cleaners in Philadelphia plans to begin using a drone helicopter to deliver dry cleaning, according to NBC Philadelphia.
Manayunk Cleaners owner Harry Vartanian has turned a four-bladed DJI Phantom quadracopter into a delivery machine that can bring dry cleaning directly to the customer’s front door.