Are You Ready for the Robot Revolution?
An increase in labour costs, staff shortages and concerns over quality have incentivised both technology companies and food entrepreneurs to look to robotics. As the need for automation sweeps the restaurant industry, robots are serving to improve the efficiency and effectivity of service.
Automation is taking over the industry in a number of ways, such as the following:
- The BratWurst Bot, took orders , cooked and served more than 200 guests at a party last summer, at a technology research centre in Germany
- Momentum Machines, a Silicon Valley start-up company, is offering a fully automated fast-food restaurant system that can cook and prepare 400 burgers per hour.
- MIT students have developed a robotic system for mixing ingredients and serving complex meals, known as the Spyce Kitchen
- Domino’s pizza is set to launch pizza delivery robots after testing them in Europe and New Zealand
- Yelp Eat24 is planning to test autonomous food-delivery robots in San Francisco neighborhoods, which will use technology similar to self-driving cars to navigate sidewalks.
Robots are turning out to be a dab hand in the kitchen, flipping burgers, creating pizzas, chopping vegetables, reaching into hot ovens and moving heavy supplies. They can prepare food faster and with greater consistency, enabling better quality meals and a faster service. These tasks are the first level of robotic innovation in food service.
While using robots can be highly advantageous, they do not come cheap. The cost of restaurant robots remains relatively high, ranging from $20,000 to $75,000. However, as robots become more ubiquitous, they will generally become more affordable and within reach of nearly any restaurant owner in the next 5 to 10 years.
Recent studies have shown that up to 50% of jobs could be automated in the next 20 years, creating concern among that low-wage restaurant workers. Restaurant owners are concerned as well and many are focused on providing their workers with ongoing education and skills training. On the flip side, by using robots to perform mundane tasks, chefs and kitchen workers will gain more time to undertake complex tasks that require more time and dedication.