You might've seen a mistletoe-toting drone (sponsored by TGI Friday's) pop up in your Facebook feed this week. This idea is both dumb and unoriginal. Some maker-types deployed a mistletoe drone in San Francisco last year. That was cute. This is a marketing stunt.
The idea of flying a drone around a restaurant, however, isn't entirely terrible. So I came up with seven ideas for drone-driven restaurant experiences that are both more fun and more productive than some chain's attempt at viral marketing. In no particular order…
This is a no-brainer. Why fly mistletoe around—before Thanksgiving!—and make strangers kiss each other while they're trying to get down with some mozz sticks. Why not deliver more mozz sticks? It's basically the same concept except the restaurant would attach deliciously gooey rods of cheese to the drone instead of a fake plant that's possibly poisonous.
This idea has actually been tested. It's been tested many times, in fact. Much like the mozzarella stick drone project, the restaurant would use the drone to deliver refreshing beers to thirsty customers. You could even string up a six-pack for maximum enjoyment. The kissing part of the evening will take care of itself.
Now we're getting nice and creative. Last week, we saw a biodegradable drone made out of mushrooms that will decompose if it ever crashes and can't be found. This makes me think that it would be entirely possible to build a drone out of edible materials—mushrooms or otherwise—and the restaurant could just land on the damned table. BOOM: a moveable feast.
Now we're getting really creative. If a robotic bartender can work on a cruise ship, there's no reason it can't handle happy hour at Friday's. While the beer drone would just delivery ready-made beers, this drone would actually mix cocktails—somehow. It would probably take a little bit of clever programming and a lot of foam padding to protect the patrons. But the kids will love it.
What's the worst thing about going to restaurants? Finding a parking spot when you're hungry. You know what this is not a problem in amazing era of drones. Let a drone do it for you. Just pull up to the curb, pocket your keys, and find your sustenance. A drone would lift the car up and carry it to an empty parking spot. It sounds implausible. But honestly, you build a drone with enough rotors, and it can pick up anything.
What's the other worst thing about going to restaurants? Picking up paper towels by yourself. That's what bathroom attendants are for, but who goes to restaurants with bathroom attendants any more? (Actually, this asshole does, and he gets them fired, too.) No problem. A drone can do it. Due to the delicate nature of handing helpless humans towels, this job would require a very delicate drone. Luckily, very delicate drones are all the rage lately.
Delivery drones became the original dumb drone marketing stunt nearly a year ago. There's a vague chance that delivery drones could become a reality, so it makes sense to do a test run on a scale that's smaller than a city. How about a restaurant?! The check delivery's always awkward for everyone. Why not program a flying robot to do it instead?!