Australia opens the first AI-designed pop-up restaurant

A restaurant inspired by the four elements of nature and decorated with lighting, haze, and LED technology.
Sejal Sharma
Inside the restaurant
Inside the restaurant


As artificial intelligence (AI) slowly makes inroads in various fields, restaurateurs took the help of technology in an attempt to redefine the human experience inside a dining space.

In March 2023, Applejack Hospitality, a culinary consultant in Sydney, launched the ‘Create Your Dream Restaurant‘ competition in a call to introduce fast-emerging AI into the restaurant industry.

The competition ran from March-April 2023 and urged participants to submit a restaurant concept that would run using AI tools. Applejack promised that the winner’s concept would be brought to life by them.

Stefanie Wee, a Perth local, triumphed over hundreds of competitors with her AI-generated restaurant idea named Luminary. This winning concept was brought to life in Sydney’s RAFI from July 29 to August 5, 2023.

Illuminating light - a key feature of the restaurant's ambiance

The concept of ‘Luminary’ focuses on the four elements of nature - air, water, fire, and earth.

These elements are used to create an immersive experience in lighting design as well as a food and beverage menu with meals based on those four themes.

The new AI restaurant demonstrated how lighting, haze, and LED technology can stimulate a customer's senses.

The concept was created with the help of ChatGPT and Canva AI. ChatGPT is a text-based AI-powered language model which can generate human-like answers when given prompts. And Canva AI is an online text-to-image generator.

Wee input prompts like "high-end, experimental, and unique" for her creation, which resulted in an embodiment of the "art of illumination," which was the theme behind the concept, reported Nine.

She then asked the chatbot to suggest the restaurant's name, menu, and lighting decor, Wee told Insider. Once those specifics were locked in, she asked Canva AI to come up with mock images for the restaurant.

'Under the sea' vibe

There was an ‘under the sea’ vibe to the restaurant with orange lamps which looked like coral and seaweed-like potted plants which hung from the ceiling. 

"When we first read the concept submission for Luminary, we were instantly intrigued by its innovative and immersive nature," Joanna Steuart, director of marketing and partnerships at Applejack Hospitality.

"When dining, guests will experience a light and sound experience themed around the four elements. From the moment they step through the doors, they will be immersed in a world where the interplay of light, food, and drinks creates an unforgettable sensory journey," added Steuart.

The website for the restaurant mentioned that the concept is ‘best experienced after dark,’ as the menu boasts of a variation of food and drinks that align with Wee’s AI concept.

Finlay Mead, who reported his experience on DMARGE, said, “A dream team consisting of Applejack’s ‘Director of Culinary’, Patrick Friesen, and RAFI’s Executive Chef, Matias Cilloniz, joined forces to craft dishes that reflect these four elements whilst simultaneously embodying the fresh, seasonal flavors that the Sydney coastline is so famous for.”

"What truly resonated with us was how seamlessly Luminary aligned with the core values and essence of our North Sydney restaurant, RAFI. Integrating this immersive experience into our existing brand provided a unique opportunity to build upon the exceptional dining standards and excitement that our guests have grown to anticipate when visiting RAFI,” added Steuart.

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