Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Customer decoy

Like a duck decoy, but for retail
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This animatronic dummy mounted on a roomba-like platform would make a shop or restaurant look busier. Theoretically people would notice the shop is open and think it must be decent if people are browsing.
Voice, Sep 28 2021

...Inflatable? https://youtu.be/rQbj9uvYL8I
[Frankx, Sep 29 2021]

Shop_20Windows_20of...iprocated_20Duality Window display version [xenzag, Sep 29 2021]

[link]






       Clever, although it would feel slightly odd eating in a crowded restaurant and realising that all the other diners are robots
hippo, Sep 28 2021
  

       Are you going to take this to the natural conclusion where they don't get a good seat because decoys are already sitting in all of the good spots?
Skewed, Sep 28 2021
  

       [Skewed] - that makes sense. If the robots are designed to be really good at appearing to be having a good time then, as a restaurant owner, you'd rather have them, rather than some random, ugly punter, sitting in all the good spots overlooking the street.
hippo, Sep 28 2021
  

       Would be more convincing if you hired live humans instead of using animatronic dummies.
pocmloc, Sep 28 2021
  

       Why would anyone hire someone when the dummy is cheaper [poc]? only way that works is if you get taxed as much for each dummy you use as it would cost you to hire someone, the basic facts of supply & demand aren't your friends there if you don't.
Skewed, Sep 28 2021
  

       You could cut the cost of the robots by making them simple string puppets instead, and then fulfil [pocmloc]'s wish to employ real live humans by having the room above the restaurant full of live human puppeteers, controlling all the life-size puppets.
hippo, Sep 28 2021
  

       Then you've all the same expenses as hiring someone plus the initial outlay for the dummy [hippo], won't work economically either, one or two novelty theme concept restaurants might make a go of it for a while with the right advertising strategy but it wouldn't work as a general thing.
Skewed, Sep 28 2021
  

       Clever, it would feel slightly gratifying eating in a crowded restaurant and realising that all the other diners are also robots.
AusCan531, Sep 29 2021
  

       I'm thinking you could get real humans for cheap if you offer them free food. You want some sort of program where they know they are invited for the purpose of enhancing the dining atmosphere, so they would be given instructions ahead of time on the style of dress, and their performance would be graded. The better they perform, the more likely to get invited back, or invited to other restaurants participating in the program.
scad mientist, Sep 29 2021
  

       ^ Dinner & a show! (Or dinner IS the show... or something.)
neutrinos_shadow, Sep 29 2021
  

       //Why would anyone hire someone when the dummy is cheaper//   

       This question could be asked of any business - estate agents, professional football, lawyers, politicians... yet somehow, the extra expense of hiring a living human seems to give enough extra productivity that humans are still hired for these positions.   

       In practical terms I imagine Mr and Mrs Sucker strolling down the street. "Look at that restaurant! Its heaving! There's only two tables left at the back!" "Yes dear but the clientele looks a bit stiff and lifeless, they dont seem to be having a great time" "OK how about this next one? Its heaving with living breathing human beings and there's only two tables left at the back" "Yes that feels much more inviting lets go in and spend £200 on lacklusture service and mediocre quantities of industrially produced food" etc. etc.
pocmloc, Sep 29 2021
  

       //free food//   

       Sadly free food isn't free to the business, you're still paying them, just not with money.   

       //could be asked of // estate agents, professional football, lawyers, politicians... yet // humans are still hired //   

       Really? the evidence from these industries would seem to contradict the claim, have you ever dealt with an estate agent? I thought all those already used dummies.
Skewed, Sep 29 2021
  

       [Skewed] believe it or not, over 25% of employees in those sectors are living humans.
pocmloc, Sep 29 2021
  

       I'm shocked! as many as that, hard to believe.
Skewed, Sep 29 2021
  

       I just imagine inflatable "auto-diners" built into the seat of the chairs, that inflate when the chair is vacated, and then deflate as needed to make space for an incoming customer. Some minor motor functions to flail the hands and occasionally nod head in appreciation   

       Perhaps some recorded conversation..."My! This bolognese is delicious!"..."Oh yes, I'll definitely have the tiramisu"   

       Inspired by the autopilot in Airplane. [link]
Frankx, Sep 29 2021
  

       //Some minor motor functions to flail the hands and occasionally nod head//

Air dancers?
LimpNotes, Sep 29 2021
  
      
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