Canadian entrepreneur Mohamad Fakih came up with the concept for Box’d before Covid-19 hit. “It was … [+] like a crystal ball.”
Now, in the era of social distancing, is it time for a revival of the automat? One Toronto businessman is betting so, opening his new venture: an automated restaurant dubbed Box’d.
If that conjures the idea of robotic chefs and Jetsons-esque technology, well, not quite. The restaurant is fully-automated—customers order via a branded app or Box’d’s website and pick up their meals from an electronic cubby. But founder Mohamad Fakih has worked in human touchpoints that bridge the gap between hospitality and technology, a chasm that has caused the downfall of other automats.
Food is prepared by real chefs, not machines. A glass window into the kitchen allows customers to watch chefs prepping, cutting and preparing dishes. “Since we set up the window, everyone walking by is taking photos. It serves very well in today’s Instagram-savvy market,” says Fakih.
The automat may sound like the perfect antidote to the crisis Covid-19 has created in the restaurant industry, but the idea came about long before the pandemic took hold.