new automat

The New Automat

In development

The original Horn and Hardart Automats introduced the concept of technology into the food business. They did this while featuring lavish theatrical settings and unbelievably high quality and delicious food, at meager prices, due to their ability to use “economy of scale” to revolutionize this industry. A few coins and the turn of a knob triggered an explosion of sensations and actions. Meanwhile, the cup of coffee, (the best you could find), that they sold in 1902 for 5 cents, was still available in 1950, for the same nickel.

The Sample Table

These updated versions of the original Horn and Hardart AUTOMAT hot food vending machines are now available. They can also take pre-orders, so diners can use numerical or QR codes to automatically open historically-correct, solid brass windows and provide easy and instant access to their food. Each box may be set to either warm or hot. Patrons use a touch screen, which identifies the content of each compartment and the price, to make their choices and use the terminal to pay using their plastic card. Doors will open and close automatically. Timers can be used by cooks to keep dishes from remaining too long for sale. UV light helps to keep the spaces free of peril.

Dedicating a small 2.5 to 7.5 running feet of an ongoing restaurant’s window, (with a food preparation facility, a kitchen, nearby), a restaurant or bar can promote its products directly, giving the passing public a chance to experience some of their proudest and fairly-priced offerings, quickly and easily. If these products are good enough and considered reasonably priced, this can result in a serious amount of eventual, new, sit down and delivery business, in addition to the additional earnings from the sale of these products. There is no better form of advertising than giving potential patrons a seat at your “Sample Table”. You have joined an ongoing street fair, maybe helped to start one, livened up a sidewalk and given the public a new reason to use it. You’ve helped people in a hurry to maintain their momentum. Your chefs have found new outlets for their creativity.

Soups and stews might be thought of as the best candidates to provide this experience since they can actually improve over time rather than the opposite. Hand pies will be popular. A minimum of deep fried or meat-based items is anticipated, since they can present more problems than vegetable-based products. In any case, a full array of choices would be dictated to by what gets sold and how quickly. Responding to the public’s tastes makes sense. Since providers can establish the price of anything as desired, it is possible to vend some fairly expensive items too, as long as there is a public willing to pay. A mixture of higher and lower priced items seems best until the actual sales determine the best choices. 18 windows per heated unit means a full range of possibilities, with the option of a second unit alongside with the same number of choices of cold items. If the traffic justifies it, and space permits it, additional units can be sited. Customers can order comfortably, shoulder to shoulder.

Food trucks and arenas and stadiums can also look forward to shorter lines, happier customers and more business from employing such devices as these. Wherever there are hordes of the hungry, all arriving at the same time, this methodology will be critical in helping to keep everything moving along quicker, easier and more smoothly. Operators will wonder why it took so long for this new technology to take hold and bring its many benefits.

Available soon.

old automat
We are proud to have provided the original machines to the New York Public Library’s 2012-2013 show.
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old automat
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new automat

What should an Automat be?

Instant gratification, full respect for your time

Up-to-date, even futuristic, ways of engaging

Freshly prepared, healthy, and delicious food

A welcoming environment that is also beautiful

Reasonable costs for the best quality ingredients

A refuge for a full range of different personalities

A demonstration that there is enough of everything

Proof that public and private interests can merge

Somebody’s hand-made and beloved enterprise

A place made memorable by its very existence

The best cup of coffee, for 5 cents, for 50 years

And the tranquility that accompanies this stability

Well, that last one may be tough, so just forget it.