Restaurant Delivers Food via Speedy Pneumatic Tubes

Dennis Faas's picture

Don't think your fast food is delivered fast enough? Then you might want to check out one fast food cafe that delivers burgers, nachos, fries, and other fatty (and delicious) items using a series of pneumatic tubes.

The advantage: food travels from the kitchen to the table at a speed of approximately 87 miles per hour (MPH).

That system is currently being used by C1 Espresso, a hybrid burger joint / cafe located in Christchurch, New Zealand. The cafe's owner, Sam Crofskey, says he was inspired by the Tube Transport System shown in the popular animated TV series "Futurama".

Pneumatic Tubes Feature Unique Air-Brake System

To construct his wild tube food delivery system, Crofskey hired a local engineering company to build 500 metres of pneumatic tubes. (Source:

Right now just one tube is working, though Crofskey hopes to see every one of his cafe's tables function in this way. Crofskey says he hopes to have the full pneumatic system up and running in the next twelve months.

The whole plan starts with wait staff sending customers' orders to the kitchen. Crofskey's kitchen staff then place prepared food in metal cannisters that are then placed in the pneumatic tubes.

It sounds like a dangerous move, but Crofskey says he was sure to install customized air brakes to ensure food cannisters didn't give any staff or customers a concussion (or worse).

The air brake system allows the food cannister to reach maximum velocity after it's sent before bringing the package to a safer speed just as it reaches the customer.

New Twist On Aging Technology

Crofskey says he devised plans to implement the tube delivery system before he opened C1 Espresso. However, this is hardly the first time pneumatic tubes have been used for delivery purposes. (Source:

In fact, the technology, which has been in use since the mid-nineteenth century, has been used to transport everything from cash to medication.

At the moment it's not clear if the system makes food deliveries any faster or if it affects the overall dining experience. However, it's certainly been good press for the Christchurch cafe.

To watch the C1 Espresso pneumatic tube system in action (via YouTube), click here.

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