Forget 2013 food-trend predictions—the future has already arrive in Harbin, China, where one restaurant owner has installed robots as his kitchen crew and wait staff. He spent about 5 million RMB ($800,000) for restaurant construction and between 200,000 and 300,000 RMB (about $32,000 to $48,000) per robot. At the appropriately named Robot Restaurant, the average experience runs as follows:

  1. You’re welcomed by a robot maître d’ when you walk into the restaurant.
  2. You place your order and robot cooks begin to put together your meal.
  3. A robot waiter brings out your order by running through a set of tracks on the floor.
  4. At the table, “prepared dishes are placed on a suspended conveyor belt and when the plate reaches the right table the mechanical arms lift it off and set it down.”
  5. You are serenaded by a robot singer.

The only humans involved are the ones keeping the robots well-oiled and functioning. All it takes to get approximately five hours worth of labor from the robots is a two-hour charge. The menu has 30+ dishes and the average bill runs to around $6 to $8.

Basically, it sounds like the next evolution of the YO! Sushi, though it’s not entirely novel—Tokyo has its own robot restaurant, complete with fembots.

In other futuristic food news, it might not be long before your taste buds can customize recipes. IBM is set to unveil a computer system that can ascertain what appeals to you based on your feedback. Essentially, “IBM’s system would break down the chemical components of each meal, then collect taste data based on your feedback. It would then use that information to create recipes that would appeal to you on a molecular level.”

[via Daily Mail]