Restaurateur Sam Huang operates a number of Asian buffets across Virginia. But at his latest venture, there’s no need to expend the extra calories walking around to figure out what you want to eat. All you have to do is press some buttons on your table’s iPad.
Domoishi Hibachi and Sushi in Sterling, Virginia has 63 electronic tablets in its dining room plus an additional eight in the kitchen.
Director Of Marketing Mark Kolodziej says they were interested in the technology as a way to get diners their food faster, since the order goes instantly from the table to the kitchen. The goal was also to allow people to order at their own pace and without having to flag down a server. And as opposed to a traditional buffet, the made-to-order system aims to reduce waste and prevent food from sitting around too long.
In case you do need a real person, there’s a “request assistance” button on each screen. “It’s kind of like an airplane, where if you hit the little button for ‘I need help,’ someone comes to you,” Kolodziej says.
Domoishi—whose name means “very tasty”—doesn’t have an a la carte menu (unless you want takeout). Instead, the restaurant offers an all-you-can-eat meal for $14.99 at lunch and $24.99 at dinner (including soft-drinks).
Needless to say, you’re not going to find Hakkaido uni on the menu. Domoishi offers standard California, tuna, and salmon rolls plus more elaborate special rolls, including one that’s deep-fried. There are also meats cooked over a hibachi grill, dumplings, crab rangoons, and a kids menu with French fries and chicken nuggets.
To further reduce waste, Domoishi offers a “clean plate reward.” At the end of the meal, you can hit a “meal done” button, and the staff will inspect your table. If you’ve cleaned your plates, you get a coupon for $2 off lunch or $4 off dinner on your next visit.
Another location of Domoishi is already planned near Richmond. If all goes well, the company plans to start rebranding its all-you-can-eat Sushi King restaurants as Domoishi and adding iPads there as well.
Domoishi Hibachi and Sushi. 46240 Potomac Run Plaza Sterling, Virginia; 703-544-2666.