Everything is better when there’s food involved. That’s an opinion shared by many people, and Randi Zuckerberg is hoping that it will apply to tech. Zuckerberg, CEO of Zuckerberg Media and sister of Facebook CEO Mark (and former Facebook employee herself), loves technology and wants other people to love it, too, especially children. She’s the author of Dot., a children’s book about a young girl who loves electronic devices, which has been turned into a TV show on NBCUniversal Kids. Dot has become a well-known and beloved character, but now tech fans and foodies are about to meet Sue.
Who’s Sue? She’s the follow-up to Dot and the main character in a new book Zuckerberg started writing, and she’s also the namesake for Sue’s Tech Kitchen, a new pop-up restaurant that Zuckerberg will be launching at the end of July. Zuckerberg envisions the restaurant as a sort of Chuck E. Cheese for modern children, a place where families can go to get delicious food…and compose music with it, in addition to 3D printing their desserts, coding with candy, making ice cream with liquid nitrogen, and more. The restaurant, which was designed by NASA scientist Sam Pfister, will open in Chattanooga, Tennessee on July 28, where it will stay for a week before moving on to an as-yet-undetermined location.
Zuckerberg is a strong advocate for women and girls in STEM fields, which drove her to create Dot and now Sue, who loves chemistry and cooking. The restaurant is the perfect way to introduce Sue to the public, she thinks, as well as to create a fun way for kids and their families to learn about technology. Although it will become an actual permanent sit-down restaurant in the future, Sue’s Tech Kitchen will begin with a candy shop-type setting, with different stations where attendees can participate in activities such as 3D printing desserts, for example. While people are free to walk in to the restaurant, reservations are also available for $5 a person, and can be made on the restaurant’s website. Zuckerberg is also inviting local startups and vendors to each pop-up location.
“I’m always encouraging parents to embrace technology into their family’s lives in an interactive and healthy way instead of being afraid of it,” said Zuckerberg. “So when I was at a restaurant with my two boys, I thought ‘how cool would it be if a drone could deliver our food? Or if we could code with candy?’ As a result, Sue’s Tech Kitchen is coming to life, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be bringing it first to Chattanooga.”
“I want to keep [Sue’s] modular so that wherever we go, we can integrate local startups that are doing exciting things,” Zuckerberg told Inc.
Sue’s beta tour will continue through the US into 2018, with its future locations to be announced. People will have the opportunity to vote to have Sue’s Tech Kitchen come to their cities.
“I felt one thing that was really missing was a place that families could go together where you can enjoy great food,” Zuckerberg said. “But you could also have incredible technology experiences that introduce children to all the exciting aspects of coding, tech, and gadgets that they’re going to need throughout the rest of their lives.”
She was drawn to Chattanooga as an inaugural location because of its emerging tech startup community, which she saw when she visited the city earlier this year to speak at the Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute’s 12th annual Impact Leadership Dinner. Discuss in the Sue’s Tech Kitchen forum at 3DPB.com.