iTray: UK sushi chain launches world’s first ‘flying waiter’

itray yo sushiBritish restaurant chain YO! Sushi has launched what it says is the world’s first flying tray, a kind of airborne waiter capable of delivering food to tables faster than the more traditional leg-equipped variety.

The so-called iTray (check it out in the video below), which is apparently capable of reaching speeds of up to 25mph, took off from the kitchen of the restaurant’s flagship store in London over the weekend.

Essentially a modified quad-copter , the flying machine is controlled by an iPad, with a member of staff tilting the tablet to control its movement. It features two built-in cameras so the ‘pilot’ can accurately guide the food-laden tray to diners’ tables before flying it back to the kitchen.


One customer who received his food on the iTray was evidently impressed. “When I ordered the burger, I didn’t imagine it was going to come flying across, into my face, on a tray,” he said, adding, “It was amazing, it was the weirdest thing.”

Speaking of food flying into faces – with customers constantly coming and going, not to mention those making their way to and from the bathroom, you might think the iTray is an accident waiting to happen, but thus far we’re happy to report that no iTray-diner entanglements have been reported. Presumably the tray flies well above the heads of diners, though if it hits a wall on its way to a customer, it could result in a bowl of miso soup landing on your head.

YO! Sushi boss Robin Rowland said the iTray was unveiled as part of the launch of a new rice burger.

“YO! Sushi is about delivering a new concept in an unusual and exciting way,” Rowland said. “The iTray concept came from our thinking of how are we going to show people how light and exciting and fun this food type is.”

If the flying tray proves popular with diners and doesn’t lead to any unfortunate accidents, it could be rolled out to its other stores next year.

YO! Sushi, which currently has more than 70 restaurants worldwide, was the first in the UK to introduce the conveyer-belt sushi system popular in Japan and also uses robotic trolleys to serve up drinks to diners.