tech

Sushi chain starts contactless service as pandemic grinds on

11 Comments

With no end in sight to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Japanese conveyer belt sushi chain Kura Sushi Inc has started introducing contactless services enabling customers to dine without interacting with staff as part of efforts to minimize the risk of infection.

Kura Sushi last week unveiled a new self-checkout machine in one of its two restaurants in Tokyo's Ikebukuro district, the company's first outlet to install a touchless device, which has sensors to capture finger motion allowing customers to make selections without tapping on the screen.

On Friday, the company introduced a similar system at one of its outlets in Osaka Prefecture.

Before the pandemic, customers needed to pay bills in person, although the Osaka-based company has been advancing automation in its operations, including a computerized system that counts empty plates to calculate bills.

Starting off with Tokyo and Osaka, Kura Sushi plans to equip around 460 outlets across Japan with touchless checkout machines by the end of 2021, according to a company spokesman.

The device, however, requires customers to punch in codes for security reasons when paying by credit card.

Looking ahead, Kura Sushi aims for a complete makeover of its popular sushi eateries in the country so that customers are not required to touch any screens on which the coronavirus can survive.

Other companies have started adopting touchless technology to minimize human contact as the pandemic grinds on.

Japan Airlines Co in August began testing two self-check-in machines at Haneda airport in Tokyo that do not require passengers to touch screens.

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11 Comments
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The device, however, requires customers to punch in codes for security reasons when paying by credit card.

And this rendering the entire system useless. This is a waste of money....

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Eating sushi is great way of getting infected

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Contact-less here just means we use smartphones to pay - usually through some 3rd party who takes a high transaction fee from the restaurant. This fee covers the app development, updates, back-end servers, and probably the CC transaction fees too, but it does prevent people who don't have smart phones or won't use them for financial stuff away.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

And making and plating the sushi is contactless too?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So automatically disinfecting hands with alcohol upon entering restaurants doesn't work? Jeez...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

About the door knobs, glasses etc are they contactless?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I read on Yahoo news that many Japanese Sushi restaurants are bankrupting.

No wonder! If it's 200yen for a scoop of rice and paper sliced radioactive fish from God knows where.

Same bankruptcy path awaits for Ramen.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Kurazushi has always been contactless in every way except paying. The plates come directly to your seat via the express belt. You order your sushi from your phone so you don't have to touch the order screen. Tallying up all your orders and confirming doesn't require staff. Then you had to wait in line to pay directly with the staff.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sushiro has checkout machines like this already. You have to use a laminated card for your table number and press a screen to choose the payment method, so it is only "contactless" in press releases.

The branch I went to recently had the stingiest auto-tap/faucet I've ever seen in the toilet. It took about fifteen attempts to get it to react and the amount of water released was pitiful. It was impossible to wash my hands at all, never mind thoroughly while singing "happy birthday" twice.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And making and plating the sushi is contactless too?

No, but they do temperature tests, wear masks, face shields, and gloves for all food service workers, don't they?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This pandemic is making people think (out of the box sometimes), can't be bad

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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