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In pictures: At these restaurants, technology is on the menu

Richtree and Spring Sushi in Toronto find a high-tech way to a customer's stomach

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Through establishments like its Richtree Natural Market Restaurant, Natural Market Food Groups is trying to use technology to create a better dining experience. But the company’s chief information officer, Joshua Sigel, knows that no amount of technology can make the restaurant viable if the food isn’t up to par though.

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As Mr. Sigel demonstrates, the video projection wall, on the outside of Richtree Natural Market Restaurant in Toronto, helps convey the eatery’s underlying message of good quality food that’s good for you.

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The holographic hostess, Mrs. Green, welcomes customers to Richtree Natural Market Restaurant in Toronto’s Eaton Centre, and also helps educate customers on the eatery’s emphasis on good quality, wholesome food.

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Sophie Slade, 7, and James Slade, 8, enjoy interactive games on their table during lunchtime at Richtree Natural Market Restaurant in Toronto. While the games give parents a chance to enjoy their own meals while their children play, they also allow young diners to learn a little about what goes into their food.

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Sophie Slade, 7, and James Slade, 8, enjoy the interactive koi carp pond projection on the floor of Richtree Natural Market Restaurant in Toronto. The interactive projections in the kids area are only one of many examples of the technology on display at this location, with a 23-foot video wall, a video hostess and more than 50 LCD screens also on display.

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More than 50 LCD screens around Richtree Natural Market Restaurant can be zoned for mixed use. So while the screens may show sports in the bar, the others around the establishment can instruct customers on the multiple methods to order food.

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Touch-screen kiosks allow customers to skip the lineups at Richtree Natural Market Restaurant. They also mean that diners can order from any of the 11 food zones in the establishment and pick everything up – and pay for it – at once.

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Customers at Spring Sushi in downtown Toronto can order their meals through iPads, which sit on every table. The iPads also serve up a detailed listing of the ingredients that go into making their favourite roll or dish.

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While it’s fun and efficient for customers such as Aaron Haile, above, to order through iPads at Spring Sushi, the Toronto restaurant says the technology doesn’t replace human service. ‘At the end of the day we’re a restaurant,’ says Kevin Lee, one of the Spring Sushi managers. ‘We’re not using the iPads as a ploy for our servers to not be at the table; it’s definitely not one thing we want to do.’

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