We ate here a couple of nights ago, without hoping for more than the standard conveyor belt sushi they used to offer when they were a pretty visible chain here up until a few years ago. So it was a pleasant surprise to see a proper Japanese-style train system that delivers plates directly to the specific table that ordered, on top of a regular conveyor belt (that wasnt operational yet; they were pretty empty from being new). There was also an iPad ordering system that I initially scoffed at for being a gimmick, but the implementation is sound and goes beyond being a ‘dumb’ menu, actually placing orders over the wireless network with a well-structured presentation and passable touch interface with some nice details.
One example, you load up a small batch of up to 4 orders, which are shown on an image of a train car not unlike the ones speeding past, and send them out as you go. Ideally, the food should arrive in the form of your order, but we often had ours split into 2-plate deliveries, which was totally fine, of course. This all works much better than Sakae Sushi’s aging tableside computerized ordering system, which suffers from being mouse-driven and hard to navigate. Yes, the iPad is a bit of an obnoxious novelty and fights for space on the table (you can dock it above the belt, but it’s a bit of a bother because it can’t be used in that position), but it works out well. They probably did the whole thing for less than it might have cost to install regular old touchscreen computers and link them all up. The wait staff also take all orders and add up bills with iPod touches. Very nicely done. I’m wondering if it was custom built from scratch or if a local company is offering the backend as a turnkey solution with design services.