Lego House, Pt. II
HiQ creates a unique experience at LEGO® House
With five years in operation, MINI CHEF keeps its place as a must-visit for guests of LEGO’s global brand lighthouse.
One-of-a-kind family dining
Not all restaurants make you play to get your food. But at the Mini Chef restaurant, mini-figures cook your meal – and they only speak brick. HiQ helped bring the magic to life and keeps the show running to this day.
“We want magic”
In 2015, Billund town square was a hole in the ground. Soon, it would be the site of Denmark’s largest steel structure – the supports for what was to become the LEGO House. Keld Kirk Kristiansen, third-generation LEGO Group owner, was building his legacy: a building filled with 25 million bricks and creative, educational fun and games for fans of all ages. Part of that dream was world-class family dining with healthy local food – and a twist. The brief: a never-before-seen, impossible-to-imitate experience that embodies the LEGO spirit: Learning Through Play and Inspiring and Developing The Builders Of Tomorrow.
Our cross-functional team took the customer quickly from vision through cutting-edge exploration to a solution that keeps delighting families and delivering great business results.
Magnus Jonsson, Key Account Manager, HiQ
Playing well together
World-renowned hospitality design agency Stylt Trampoli were tasked to come up with the restaurant strategy and turned to HiQ to find out what was possible with the latest tech. Together, we developed a concept that combined novel and proven tech into a build-your-meal experience, wrapped in a story to delight the kids and with robots to serve the meals. From there on, Stylt took charge of restaurant identity and interior, and HiQ took on the role as turnkey contractor for 25+ expert consultants and nine subcontractors for the tech and digital content – developing the experience in close collaboration with the LEGO House team, testing iteratively with families and trimming it in with the operations team.
We were very happy that Stylt knew HiQ who know what it takes to build a complex tech system.
Nils-Jørgen Jensen, Operations Manager of LEGO House 2016–2020; Chairman of Visit Denmark
Every component of the meal is represented by a specific LEGO brick. When the full meal order has been composed, diners slide their tray into a hatch on the Foodifyer box on the table, which sends the builds into the kitchen. You follow on screen as LEGO minifigures interpret your build, prepare the food and place it in a meal box. Meal boxes are then transported on a conveyor belt to Robert and Roberta, who hand out the orders to the excited kids. Families recognize their set of boxes by the unique lid color, and each guest recognizes their build on the slip on the box. And it wouldn’t be a LEGO experience if there wasn’t also a special surprise inside…
HiQ architected the guest journey, supporting processes and systems, and co-developed all design elements and animations – on-screen and physical. An automation hub syncs all experience elements: robot sounds and motion, mechatronics, guest app, conveyor belt, and the web based staff interface, which is used to manage orders and fire off the robot birthday dance – often several times a day. The solution also spans a restaurant management system, printing of order slips, payment, content management system and analytics. Two core software components had to be developed: brick recognition, to go from iPad camera input to 3D model and meal order, and a custom pipeline for translating Maya animations to movement instructions, then stream those to the ABB YuMi robots and custom head mechatronics.
The restaurant is praised in the media, by fans, and in awards. Notably, it was shortlisted for two categories in EuroBest, made finals in the Gold Key Awards and won People’s Choice in the Webbys. The “Build Your Meal” core experience is patented by LEGO House together with HiQ. Five years in operation. One million plus house visitors. Hundreds of thousands of guests. Consistent top guest ratings and new record guest counts. Mini Chef has proven itself a must-visit for fans of one of the world’s most beloved brands.