Restaurant robots, food delivery drones and 3D food printers. Numerous technologies to use in the restaurant industry are available already. 95% of restaurant owners in the United States believes that new technologies can add value to their business operations (SBB, 2019). On the other hand, a report by ABN AMRO (2018) showed that the food industry still uses a relatively low number of robots, although they are currently catching up. CashDesk updates you on the latest developments!
“A relatively low number of robots in the food industry”
The fact that few robots have been deployed in the food industry until recently had two initial causes: Strict laws and regulations as well as the many differences between products in the restaurant industry (ABN AMRO, 2018). Because of the strict laws and regulations, especially when it comes to hygiene, restaurant robots must meet many requirements. In addition, restaurant robots must be able to deal with different sizes and shapes of products while not every customer wants a slice of tomato on their burger, for example. This variation makes it difficult for restaurant robots to function properly.
The rise of restaurant robots
Steps are being taken though, as American company Zume Pizza has shown in recent years. With the help of their various restaurant robots, dough balls were made, sauces were spread and pizzas were put into ovens (Sprout, 2020). These ovens were placed in the delivery vans which had GPS transmitters to make sure pizzas were baked at exactly the right time. Zume Pizza managed to avoid a US ban on preparing food in moving vehicles by controlling the ovens through the cloud. However, an example in which human tasks are completely taken over by restaurant robots, such as with Zume Pizza, is still exceptional. The company has since shifted its focus and shut down the entire delivery service (Restaurant Business Magazine, 2020).
To date, new technologies within the hospitality industry mainly add value by supporting the staff on the work floor. More and more, restaurant owners see how restaurant robots can be of value in reducing operational costs and increasing productivity (ABN AMRO, 2018). For example, restaurant robots can improve employees’ working conditions, reduce food waste, and address (temporary) labor shortages. Moreover, restaurant robots are slowly becoming more affordable.
Restaurant robots: examples from practice
Currently, restaurant robots are already deployed at the front door and as a waitress. However, this is not yet happening on a large scale because of the relatively high prices. Denny Deng, owner of the Dadawan restaurant in the Netherlands, currently has three restaurant robots in use and says that they are sufficient for the moment (Misset Horeca, 2020). With his restaurant robots, he saves valuable time so that his employees can pay more attention to the guests who are present. Robot Akatar, for example, moves a four-tier cart, that the staff fills with used dishes, back and forth between the restaurant and the kitchen. By doing so, the restaurant robots support the staff as they provide them with more time to focus on hospitality and personal attention.
In China, they are already a step ahead. A restaurant opened this year (Fooddom) that is run almost entirely by the 46 restaurant robots that work there (ThinkChina, 2020). The restaurant has become a real attraction. The consistency in quality that the robots put on the mat is admirable.
Will restaurant robots eventually replace human beings?
This is the question that always keeps coming up as soon as people are faced with so-called “groundbreaking” innovations. So far, however, it is clear to see that new technologies like restaurant robots serve as support for employees. Not as a replacement. Moreover, history teaches us that breakthrough innovations do not cause people to be out of work overnight. Where jobs are occasionally replaced by technology, jobs are often created in other places simultaneously. Robots, for example, need to be built, controlled and monitored. Trends develop step by step. Therefore, one can usually see shifts like these coming with enough time left to anticipate and react.
Smart software solutions from CashDesk
We are also constantly trying to challenge ourselves by developing new software solutions for delivery restaurants. This has led, among other things, to a delivery app including GPS tracking and QR codes that enable contactless payments at the door and in the restaurant.
We will soon be expanding the CashDesk delivery software with the functionality ‘automatic route planning’. This will allow our clients to take the next step in streamlining their delivery process. Are you interested in CashDesk delivery software? Please contact us at email@example.com or call 0031208202196.
- ABN AMRO. (2018, October). Robotis in de foodsector: een razendsnelle inhaalslag. ABN AMRO Insights. https://insights.abnamro.nl/download/124890/
- Misset Horeca. (2020, July 5). Horeca robotica; robots moeten gastvrijheid Dadawan verhogen.
- Restaurant Business Magazine. (2020, January 10). Zume shuts down its robot-powered pizza business.
- SBB. (2019). Robotisering en automatisering | SBB. https://trendrapport.s-bb.nl/vgg/sectorale-trends-gastvrijheid/robotisering-en-automatisering/
- Sprout. (2019, January 22). 5 bedrijven die de horecawereld vernieuwen met robots.
- ThinkChina. (2020, May 29). Guangzhou robot restaurant: Robot chefs did their part during the epidemic.