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Canada’s 1st Fully Automated Restaurant Opening this Summer

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Canada’s first fully-automated restaurant is coming to Toronto as Canada prepares to experience life in a post-COVID-19 world.

Box’d, by Paramount Fine Foods, will revolutionize the way consumers order and pick up food. Located at 4 King St. W., in the heart of Toronto’s financial district, Box’d is not your typical restaurant. It has simplified the order process, so Torontonians don’t have to spend time standing in line or waiting for their food to be prepared.

Guests place their order in advance via a mobile app or they can order at a digital kiosk in-store. Digital status boards within the restaurant update guests when their food is ready and lead them to their pickup location. Digital cubbies and shelves identify orders and create a streamlined experience.

“We are excited to bring the Box’d experience to Toronto,” said Mohamad Fakih, CEO and President of Box’d by Paramount Fine Foods. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many Torontonians chose to cook their meals at home, but as the restrictions ease and more businesses open people are looking forward to eating out. We understand that people may still be a little wary of public places, so we have created a dining option that is fast, efficient, and safe.”

4 KING ST WEST. PHOTO: GWLRALEASING.COM
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He said the design looks beautiful, will save a lot of time and will resolve the biggest problem in the food industry today.

“You have limited amount of staff, limited amount of space to serve as many customers as you can at the same time and a lot of the area is only busy three hours a day, four hours a day, so how much can you pull out food and deliver food at the same time within those three/four hours,” said Fakih.

Also for consumers, lineups are getting longer and slower these days to pick up food in various establishments.

“There is a great technology behind it that organizes the order by the minute of ordering and when do they want pick up. So the consumer will have the option when they want to pick it up,” said Fakih.

“The food will always come out fresh. When the food is prepared fresh and the staff are not overwhelmed, they produce better, they produce more and because of the point of pick up we have 20 cubbies there is no bottleneck . . . The cubbies will deliver food fast in an organized, great way that the sales will get much higher.”

PARAMOUNT FINE FOODS LOCATION IN YORKVILLE, TORONTO. PHOTO: PARAMOUNT FINE FOODS

The idea for the concept was in the works before the COVID-19 outbreak.

“When the coronavirus hit, this has become a story like I had a crystal ball, which I didn’t. This is very good for coronavirus because number one you’re ordering and paying through a website or a kiosk in-house and then you’re picking up from a divided, separated, sanitized cubby that we sanitize after each order and prepared by only one chef that will seal your order to make sure that only one person touched it and that same chef will load it in the cubby and you’ll come in, you’ll see your name with the cubby number and you’ll go to that cubby and you retrieve your order by tapping on the glass, the glass will open and you’ll pick up your order. No one else touched it but yourself and the one chef,” said Fakih.

A concierge in the location will greet people and help people if they need it.

Chef Tomer Markovitz has created lunch and dinner menus with vegan and vegetarian options. Each have sustainable packaging and express menu options that are accessible in just a few quick and efficient taps.

“The state-of-the-art technology used throughout Box’d will revolutionize and transform how consumers experience dining on-the-go and will help our guests feel safe,” said Markovitz. “With one chef per meal, all meals are sealed and delivered to sanitized, individual cubbies which simplifies the process and keeps cleanliness and safety top of mind.”

Menu items will feature Paramount Fine Foods famous hummus and traditional Middle Eastern flavours and spices in new and exciting recipes created by the chef. From salads to Box’d hot dishes, delicious oven-baked wraps and refreshing smoothies, Box’d provides a multitude of fast, healthy options for everyone.

“Being fully automated means Box’d can offer Canadians a new and exciting ‘smart’ way to experience eating out safely,” said Ahmed Daify, the Box’d franchisee for Paramount Fine Foods. “Box’d will be the first automated restaurant with a certified chef. We will be hiring at a time when the service industry needs it the most. We are excited to bring this opportunity to Canada, since Canada is a country of hope.”

Fakih said the plan is to roll out the concept to other locations. It’s a great concept for places such as sports arenas, universities, for example.

“And we will expand it across Canada. We have a lot of franchisees who are very excited and I’m hoping there will be more. So far everyone has shown their excitement. We have interest to expand it everywhere,” he said.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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