Sunday, August 24, 2008

Key Terms: Automat

The automat is a self-service cafeteria which keeps its food selections in small compartments that are opened when the customer inserts money into a slot adjacent to the compartment. Automats were popular in New York City during the first half of the century as a place to get an inexpensive, hot meal. They had kitchens with chefs that would make the food, but costs were kept down by the decreased need for waiters and waitresses. The automats of Cornell's time would have had one or two waitresses to make change (the automat machines took nickels.) The rise of the fast food restaurant virtually killed the automats, however with the demand for higher quality food at low prices, they may make a comeback. New York City currently has an automat in operation called Bamn!

Here is a video about Bamn!

Here's a short clip of an automat.

For more information on automats, check out these websites and articles:

Watch these films to see scenes set in automats:

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