Fast food to your table at 140kmh

18:30, Dec 12 2013
C1 fast food
SPEEDY SERVICE: Craig Beard from engineering company Lamson installs the first stages of the tube delivery system. 

A Christchurch cafe is preparing to redefine fast food by firing hamburgers across the eatery at high speed.

C1 Espresso owner Sam Crofskey shot a tube full of burgers from one end of the cafe to the other at 140 kilometres per hour yesterday.

The burger shot was the first of many which will go zipping around the ceiling and basement of the High St cafe when its pneumatic tube food delivery system is completed.

ZOOM ZOOM: Fast food will be delivered straight to the table.
ZOOM ZOOM: Fast food will be delivered straight to the table.

When finished, the tube system will be able to deliver food direct to every table in the cafe.

Some Cantabrians will remember the pneumatic tubes from Ballantynes.

Crofskey first saw them on cartoon television show Futurama and the idea stuck. 


C1 already uses smaller tubes to deliver order dockets to the kitchen. Not content with sending only paper messages, Crofskey employed Auckland engineering company Lamson to install 500 metres of extra-large tubing made to handle much heavier loads. 

The first part of that system is now being tested, with the remaining tubes being installed over the next year.

The system will allow chefs to stack mini-burger sliders in a stainless steel tube, select the correct table for delivery and send it off.

Customers sitting in the cafe can watch orders zip through the clear tubes above, arriving at the intended table unscathed.

Every table will have a tube either dropping down from the ceiling or fed up from the basement through the table itself. 

Six tables will be kitted out by the end of January, when Crofskey will open the system to customers. 

At 140 kmh, if a canister shot out of the tube system unchecked, it could cause serious damage. 

Crofskey has had custom air brakes and air-pressure pockets installed to slow the canister before it reaches the table.

Each tube will also remain computer locked until the canister has arrived safely. 

''A cannister at that speed could take someone's hand off,'' Crofskey said.

''We certainly don't want to be known for that.''

The move is a natural one for C1 which already surprises customers with its secret bathroom door and arcade game machines.

''We want to be really memorable,'' he said. ''This is a world first.'' 

Burgers and nachos will be served during opening hours starting end of January.

The Press