If your plan for dinner tonight is ordering Seamless (again), then listen up. David Chang--the chef and restaurateur behind the Momofuku group--is opening a new restaurant that's right up your alley. You don't even have to leave your couch to order and your food comes straight to your door.
Later this spring, Ando will open in New York. Ando will be a Momofuku restaurant, with an entirely different twist. There's no physical menu or even a dining room where you sit down to eat. Diners will order through a custom Ando mobile app, and their food will be delivered using UberRush.
Most details about the new restaurant concept are under wraps or still being developed, but Fast Company did uncover a few earlier this week: Chang is developing the menu with chef J.J. Basil. Menu items may include tofu and Southern fried chicken, plus a dangerous-sounding dish called cheesesteak. Milk Bar, a bakery part of Momofuku group, is also developing a few exclusive cookie flavors for Ando.
Blending food and tech innovation
Last year, Chang spoke on a panel at South by Southwest about the role tech can play in the future of food. He's already made headway in solving several restaurant industry problems with technology. For example, Chang was dissatisfied with existing restaurant reservations platforms. So all Momofuku restaurants run on their own, custom-built reservation platform.
Chang has also expressed frustration with clunky point-of-sale systems. He dislikes how difficult it is to collect customer details that could be used to reward diners and even enhance their dining experience. He also despises waiting in line. "It's only a matter of time before the whole idea of waiting in line [for food] will go away," Chang said at last year's SXSW.
Ando sounds like Chang's solution to tackle some of these frustrations with technology. As far as food innovation, this restaurant concept seems to make so much sense. It's not necessary to go to out of your way to a physical location, wait for a table, and sit next to strangers to enjoy a fine dining experience. Certainly there are times when you seek out this experience, but sometimes you just want a good meal. And that good meal can be had at home.
Ando is also a blend of new and existing technology. Though Ando will have its own app for ordering, the restaurant will essentially be outsourcing delivery to UberRUSH drivers. Uber has already built their delivery service technology, so why not put that infrastructure to use?
Of course, Ando isn't open yet, so we can't yet speak to the restaurant's success. There are certainly logistical challenges to "serving" diners at their own home instead of walking the plate to your table immediately after it's been prepared. That said, it's a new way to bring together food and tech, and it's especially exciting that one of the biggest names in the restaurant industry is spearheading it.