HOUSTON—In a last-ditch effort to populate their otherwise empty tables, financially troubled theme restaurant chain Rainforest Cafe introduced tens of thousands of lifelike animatronic patrons to their restaurants Thursday. “We’re excited to announce that the anthropomorphic wildlife, which has been our hallmark since 1997, will now be joined by the most fascinating creatures of all—Rainforest Cafe customers,” said vice president of branding and marketing Alan Bosch, who emphasized his excitement at the prospect of realistic, true-to-life Rainforest Cafe diners, bar patrons, and birthday party attendees providing visitors at all 24 locations with the exotic illusion of a successful and bustling eatery. “The moment you step inside, you’ll see what seem to be actual living, breathing, restaurant-going families ordering meals, holding conversations, and providing every illusion of enjoying the Rainforest Cafe experience. We truly can’t wait for our remaining handful of human guests to see what it’s like in a Rainforest Cafe that has regular customers, and for our waitstaff to experience what it’s like to, for example, serve a group of coworkers who decided that swinging by Rainforest Cafe for a drink might be fun.” Rainforest Cafe executives have repeatedly denied using animatronic investors to simulate having sufficient confidence in the restaurant chain to continue its funding.
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