Sushi made by robots is an odd phrase because it sounds both unlikely (don’t sushi chefs train for ages in order to be able to produce the perfect nigiri and sashimi?) and probable (the robots come from Japan, one of the spiritual homes of high-tech and digital) in the same instant.
Yet this contradiction is up and running in the shape of a newly opened ‘store of the future’ from Itsu, the London-based sushi casual dining outfit. The location is the UK capital’s Great Portland Street and the branch is about reducing the handling inherent in buying (or consuming in situ) a piece of fast food.
The robots have been imported and can produce up to 4,800 pieces of sushi an hour. Ordering takes place by in-store digital screens and there is only one line to pick up. There are also no chiller units in the customer-facing area, an attempt to reduce the amount of handling involved in this form of retailing/hospitality.
At a moment when Covid appears to be on the rise once more, this looks like a good response to what is happening.