In the 1940s the Automat was the high-tech way to eat without a waiter.
You put a nickel in a machine to open a little glass door, then you could reach in and your sandwich was yours.
Well the Automat is back, sort of.
"Stacked" is a restaurant in Southern California that has replaced the waiter with the iPad.
Well, you know that server who gives you his full attention while he's taking your order?
Well what happens when he walks away from your table?
"On the way to the kitchen, the server probably takes care of a couple of other tables, gives them some refills, clears some tables," according to Stacked owner Paul Motenko.
Five minutes or more can elapse, he says, which could be a problem if you're in a hurry.
Things are different at Stacked.
Diners can check out the menu on iPads, then custom design and order their meals, and only be charged for the ingredients they use.
For example, a customer might order salmon, then choose from various buns, toppings and sauces to create a sandwich, or build it over a salad created from a list of more than 35 ingredients.
Gourmet faire which can come to you as quickly as fast food, because the server's freed up from hitting up all those tables and assembling your meal.
"A hundred percent of their focus is on taking care of the guest," according to Motenko.
This set-up doesn't allow you to play video games or instant message other diners.
The iPads provided are for custom making your meal only, and they have alarms that sound if they're carried out of the door.
Other restaurants across the globe have also picked up on the trend.
In San Francisco, Barbacco allows diners to peruse the wine menu using an iPad.
In Sydney, Australia, Global Mundo Typass was one of the first restaurants to go to an iPad only menu.
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