Wichita Wings
Century II Performing Arts and Convention Center - Wichita

Thinking Out Loud: Phone Charging Station Store and Automat dining


Another "Thinking Out Loud" Moment...

You know how you go to the airport and there are usually several places (but never enough) to charge your phone?

Why is that limited to airports, coffee shops, and the mall?

Everybody has been there and done that with a dead or about-to-be-dead phone, be it at work, at a restaurant, bar, traveling, at an outdoor activity, sporting event, or elsewhere.  It could be no access to an outlet, don't have the charger, or a dramatic drain on the phone for whatever reason.

Somebody needs to open up a store (and franchise it) where you can charge your phone for free.  In addition to cordless charging stations built into tables and countertops, the store would also have plenty of outlets for older phones and traditional charging. 

How would the store generate revenue?  Sell phone accessories from vending machines.  Chargers, cases, screen protectors, earbuds, etc., could all easily be sold from a vending machine.  But that probably wouldn't be enough to pay the rent.

Old School AutomatEnter, the modern Automat

The Automat:  A turn-of-the-20th-Century vending machine-style experience where customers could select a meal from a posted menu, drop some coins into a slot, and then pull out a packaged lunch from a food locker.  An instant hit with busy lunch break eaters in big cities, the Automat was a simple lunchroom, with no tables or formal dining room, just a counter with stools and a chrome kiosk ordering station with glass windows.

Those vending machine-style eateries eventually gave way to fast-food restaurants in the 1950s and 1960s, but have actually started to make a comeback as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Automats don't require a cashier or a server, making them ideal for contactless service.

A modern concept Automat features digital menus, credit card processors, and phone apps. There's been an upgrade to the food too.  Sure, you can still get a sandwich and a cup of coffee, perhaps a slice of pie.  But the modern Automat menu includes trendy foods like ramen and fusion foods like chicken wonton tacos.

Modern Automat:  Brooklyn Dumpling ShopThere's your money maker.  Grab a bite to eat while you charge your phone. 

You read it here first...

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

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