We've all heard of restaurants that deliver sushi or burritos using drones, but what's the most efficient way to get your customers their food when they are seven stories straight down? A pop-up restaurant in Melbourne, Australia thinks it has the answer, and has started to deliver sandwiches using mini parachutes.
The name Jafflechutes comes from the name "jaffie", Australian slang for a toasted sandwich, and of course the 'chutes used to deliver them. To take part in the fun you first go to the Jafflechutes Facebook page to see where they're going to be setting up. Then you order online, and pay for your food using PayPal. When your sandwich is ready, you simply stand on a chalk "X" on the sidewalk, and wait for your food to come down. Hopefully, it won't get caught on a windowsill or awnings on the way down, and just in case it does drift off course, they do print your name on the wrapper. Think of it as being kind of like a lighthearted first-world version of those food drops that relief agencies make over war-ravaged countries.
While this might seem like little more than an artsy joke for the hipster crowd, there is some method to the madness. In most major cities, renting street level restaurant space is prohibitively expensive, so a lot of young and dynamic cooks move their operation onto food trucks to save money. The parachute delivery system offers an interesting alternative to that approach, allowing a cook to rent cheaper upper floor space, while still allowing them to get their creations to hungry diners without delay.
Jafflechutes is based in Australia, but their Facebook page says that they're going to be taking their operation on the road to New York City in May and June. Hopefully I'll get a chance to check them out while they're here, and can see how they deal with us fussy New Yorkers. In the meantime, check out the video below to see how they do it in Melbourne.