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Learning English - Words in the News
09 April, 2008 - Published 13:12 GMT
Germany auto restaurant
Auto restaurant in Nuremberg, Germany
Metal tracks use gravity to bring food from the kitchen to your table

If the one thing that puts you off eating out is the thought of surly waiters, then help is at hand. A restaurant in Nuremberg, Germany, has come up with a hi-tech solution to bad service - it's got rid of the waiters and created an automated eatery. Steve Rosenberg booked a table there:

Listen to the story

Germany has given the world many great inventions: the aspirin, the airship, the diesel engine. But surely it's never produced anything as weird as this. From Nuremberg comes the automated eatery.

The restaurant I'm in has no waiters serving the tables. Instead there are metal tracks crisscrossing the cafe, like a giant helter skelter and using gravity to bring food direct from the kitchen in the roof to your table. I can see bottles of wine whizzing down from above, supersonic sausages speeding along, too. This is 'fast food' - German style.

There, that's the sound of a pork schnitzel arriving at our table. The ordering process is fully automated, too. There are no waiters hanging around with paper and pencil. You use computer touch screens to browse the menu and select the dishes.

But what's the point? Well, the German inventor who came up with the concept says cutting out the waiters makes the restaurant more efficient. Thinking about it, I suppose it works out cheaper for the customers, too. After all, in this restaurant, there's no one to tip!

Steve Rosenberg, BBC News, Nuremberg

Listen to the words

a large aircraft without wings that consists of a large bag filled with gas which is lighter than air and powered by engines (in the past, airships were used to carry passengers - in an enclosed structure hanging below)

From Nuremberg comes the automated eatery
the first restaurant with no waiters has been opened in Nuremberg

going in all directions

a giant helter skelter
a very tall structure at a funfair which you slide down and around for enjoyment

here, the force that makes things fall to the ground

whizzing down
here, moving very fast from the roof towards the table

hanging around
working/moving slowly and lazily

what's the point?
what's the idea/the most important characteristic (of the invention)?

came up with the concept
invented, or thought up the idea

to tip
to give a small amount of money to someone who has provided you with a service, in addition to the official payment

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