The “automat” – a self-serve restaurant of a bygone era that had no human employees at all – may be making an unlikely comeback, and if it did, would it mark yet another chapter in Western society’s shift toward technological isolationism?</br></br><strong>Automats: History</strong></br></br>After all, (utterly depressing) research concludes that <a title="Washington Post" href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/08/18/eating-alone-is-a-fact-of-modern-american-life/" target="_blank">we’re all destined to dine alone</a> from time to time in this new ironically hyper-connected world. So, it would make sense for the automat to rise from the ashes of history.</br></br>But, no – this is a comeback story. The automat was first introduced to Americans in the early 1900s, and the <a title="New York Times" href="http://www.nytimes.com/1991/04/11/nyregion/last-automat-closes-its-era-long-gone.html" target="_blank">last one in the country closed in Manhattan in 1991</a>. They were here before, so it stands to reason that advances in automation and a blossoming addiction to smart technology could stoke the flames of resurgence …</br></br>And, it has. At Eatsa, located in tech-savvy San Francisco, diners order from in-store iPads and take food from the little numbered cubbies in which it magically appears. The new concept is fully automated on the customer-facing side, which the company is betting <a title="The Atlantic" href="http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/09/the-restaurant-with-invisible-waiters/403297/?utm_source=SFTwitter" target="_blank">will appeal to millennials</a> that put a premium on convenience.</br></br><strong>Automats: Interior Design</strong></br></br>New York Gen Xers and beyond would predict that any automat – even a reboot – would embrace the homey, retro look <a title="The Automat" href="http://www.theautomat.net/" target="_blank">established by Horn & Hardart in the Big Apple back in 1902</a>. Alas, Eatsa only borrows the automation idea, and the interior design focus is on utility rather than community.</br></br>But, that doesn’t mean there are no takeaways for kitchen and dining room design. There are some features that clue us in to how we can make our homes more comfortable, even without all the automation.</br></br><strong>‘Automat’ Your Home (No Robots Needed!)</strong></br></br><em>Remove Roadblocks:</em> Keep food closer at hand by closing the gap between where you prep and where you eat. This could be as easy as moving your staging area, or as nuanced as redesigning your furniture layout to create better flow.</br></br><em>Add Seating:</em> More casual seating is always a good thing, whether that means adding more stools at the kitchen island – or adding a kitchen island so you can have stools.</br></br><em>Add Convenience:</em> A new toaster oven is convenient, but so is reorganizing your kitchen to better suit your way of cooking and entertaining. You can find more <a title="How to Improve Kitchen Economy" href="https://www.atgstores.com/ourblog/How-to-Improve-Kitchen-Economy" target="_blank">tips for kitchen economy here</a>, and tricks for establishing <a title="Establishing Routine to Keep Your House Clean" href="https://www.atgstores.com/ourblog/Establishing-Routine-to-Keep-Your-House-Clean" target="_blank">a more efficient kitchen routine here</a>.</br></br>Then, of course, there’s always the jaunty, retro automat design, and a little more fun goes a long way in making your kitchen and dining more enjoyable.