Kaiten or rotating/conveyor belt sushi restaurants were invented in Japan in the 1950s. More recently, a Japanese entrepreneur has put the concept on steroids, rolling out a chain of highly automated—and profitable—restaurants that go way beyond a mere conveyor belt. At branches of the Muten Kurazushi Sushi Restaurant, which has over 260 locations, technology serves the diners with minimal human intervention. It's the first one featured in this video:
There was a part edited out of the video above, which shows the crucial process of how the bill is tallied. That operation is revealed here:
It's no surprise that Muten Kurazushi is profitable in a country where conventional restaurants have struggled; as the Times reports, "just six servers and a minimal kitchen staff can service a restaurant seating 196 people, said a company spokesman, Takeshi Hattori." We also found this tidbit about the unintended benefits amusing:
"It's not just about efficiency," Mr. Hattori said. "Diners love it too. For example, women say they like clearing finished plates right away, so others can't see how much they've eaten."