We all get tired of waiting in the lunch line. We seemingly spend endless amounts of time for what is probably going to be a disappointingly tasteless sandwich. Only then do you get to the cashier only to realize that the café doesn’t take cards and you’re now out of cash. Cafes during the rush that is the downtown Buenos Aires’ lunch hour are a nightmare, really.
New restaurant Foster is a solution for all of our very first world lunch complaints. As a technological first for both Argentina and Latin America, the new downtown restaurant operates using a cashier-free system similar to that of online giant Amazon’s newly opened supermarket in Seattle.
Get this: the restaurant, which opened just four weeks ago, is totally automated. That’s right, it requires no human interaction. Perfect for if you’re just having one of those days.
Foster is also the first restaurant in Argentina to be completely cashless, so don’t go there trying to use up all your ten peso notes. Only debit, credit, and prepaid cards will be accepted.
Although waiter and cashier free, for those who have issues with computers and are just a bit slow (*cough* 87-year-old Abuela Silvia *cough*), Foster seems to have provided a few members of staff who keep an eye out for those needing help.
Upon entering the restaurant, the vibe is minimalistic, free from chaos, and modern (as you might expect). Food is ordered and paid for via a machine, you then wait until your name appears on one of the 18 microwave shaped boxes, touch the screen and voila, as if by magic, your food will appear. Taking between 30 seconds and 3.3 minutes (but who’s counting), the food is fast, but by no means McDonald’s style fast food: Instead, Foster is more about providing tasty and healthy bites which are quick and efficient.
Thought up by a trio Argentine entrepreneurs almost three years ago, Martín Zucker, Mariano Fernández, and Guido Stella had the idea of fusing technology and food in the Argentine capital. Not content with remaining only a cashless, automated restaurant, the concept is set to become an app in the near future, meaning payment could be made exclusively through your smartphone.
Martín Zucker, speaking with Clarín, spoke of his desire to improve the quality of people’s lives in a small and simple way. Realizing that people don’t often have a lot of free time during lunch, Zucker added that most of this time is lost by ordering or paying for food. Allowing people to make their food order more efficiently is exactly what the entrepreneur has set out to do.
Encrypted by Mercado Pago, (the same company used by Mercado Libre), the new restaurant prioritizes customers’ security. Speaking on behalf of Mercado Libre, senior vice president of product, Paula Arregui, said that the company loves supporting these kinds of businesses that simplify users interactions with money by making cash a thing of the past. Arregui also praised the brand’s achievement in bringing a new experience to Argentina.
Foster is located in a 19th century mansion in the heart of downtown Buenos Aires.