Chinese restaurant Renrenxiang has replaced all of its front of house staff and payment equipment with a smartphone messaging service.
Much of the expenses associated with running a food business stem from staffing and infrastructure, so it is no wonder that a number of eateries are pushing the limitations of what can be considered a restaurant. We have already seen Ijburg Serveert — the Dutch pop-up with no kitchen — and The Vault — a staffless coffee shop in North Dakota. Now, Chinese restaurant Renrenxiang has trumped them all, replacing all front of house staff and payment equipment with a smartphone messaging service.
Renrenxiang, in Beijing, is using China’s most popular messaging app WeChat to power its reboot. Visitors begin by launching the app, browsing the menu and placing their order. They then pay for their meal using the messenger service and are given an order number. Their meal is prepared in the kitchen and their number called out over a tannoy system when it’s ready. The customer can then collect their food and seat themselves for their meal.
Of course, the human touch is an important factor in the hospitality industry but could any other task be automated without negatively impacting the customer experience?