We would just like to share this interesting take on social distancing from the 1930s, the Mechanafe, a 100% waiterless, mechanized cafe in Boise, Idaho. A conveyor belt would bring plates of food around to all the customers, who could grab all they want at one low all-you-can-eat price. All dirty dishes would then be placed on another conveyor belt to whisk them off to be cleaned. One of the selling points of this idea was that it was sanitary, and all the belts were cleaned with bleach every evening and the staff would be tested for typhoid and syphilis every 6 months to stave off any more outbreaks of typhoid. The diner lasted a decade before the rising food costs during World War II forced it to close.
Postcard from Northwest Historical Postcards Collection