Cuisine And Computers Merge At Restaurant

One London restaurant is cutting out the middle man with a system that directly connects customers to kitchen.

Inamo, an Asian fusion restaurant, uses overhead projectors, touchpad tabletops, and a computerized ordering system that completely changes the dining experience, CBS News correspondent Richard Roth reported on The Early Show Tuesday.

Ordering is done from the table's touchpad top, and is sent directly to the kitchen. Roth reported that the restaurant works like an iPhone, with a digital dining menu that includes computer games and a map of the subway system.

As for the wait staff -- they bring out the food, help with the technology, and deliver the check, but the restaurant is for diners, Roth said, that don't want to socialize.

Noel Hunwick, creator and co-owner of Inamo, told Roth that the experience is about customer control.

"We wanted to put the customer in a position where they could order when they want, get their bill when they want, and at the same time really customize their entire environment," he said.

And the customized atmosphere extends even to a digital table cloth.

One London diner, Julie Potter, said, "I think it's great. The tables are really interesting. I mean, you can have a lot of fun with them, it's quite good fun to have a play around with the decor of your table."

The Early Show weather anchor and features reporter Dave Price said that the concept does leave out some things, though -- like asking for special requests like dressings on the side.

Co-anchor Julie Chen told Price that the restaurant may be doing the opposite of making the experience for customers.

"I know, they're not trying to eliminate the annoying waiter, they're trying to eliminate the annoying customer."

News anchor Russ Mitchell discussed the tricky business of the tip in a restaurant where waiters still play a role in serving.

Chen said it sounds like take-out, and suggested giving a lower gratuity for the minimal service.