Robots are taking over! Well, it is not as dramatic as it sounds. Robots are becoming more and more helpful to us. Unfortunately the more they help us, the more they tend to replace us. Robots have slowly made their way to places like hospitals, warehouses, and even hotels. The $800 billion restaurant industry is seemingly the next target. Food service robots are beginning to invade kitchens and homes all over the world.
Restaurants, fast food chains, down to vending machines are adopting food service robots as chefs, waiters, and dishwashers. Due to rising labor and health care costs, places like McDonald’s are even experimenting with replacing their human workers with food service robots.
Food Service Robots
In countries like Japan, robots are almost becoming common everywhere. Take for instance the popular restaurant, Henn-Na. When you enter the fancy little location, you will be surprised to see two chefs cooking you up a meal, striking up a conversation, talking about how much they love their jobs. Pretty commonplace. Only thing is, is that these two chefs are robots.
Andrew, the head robot chef, is a tall human-looking robot. He makes famous Japanese pancakes known as okonomiyaki. He stirs the bowl, fries the batter up and then even plates it up to be served. The entire time he will be going on about how great his job is and just how much he loves doing it.
He has an array of other food service robots doing other miscellaneous tasks. One of them will be frying up donuts, scooping up ice-creams into cones and even will be mixing drinks.
This restaurant is in tandem with the hotel run by the company H.I.S. The company says that these kinds of food service robots are perfect for countries like Japan which has a rapidly aging population and fewer people coming into the workforce. This poses a severe threat to companies and industries that directly rely on a constant supply of workforce.
Japan’s economy is not suffering though. It is actually booming. It is estimated that over 70 percent of hotel jobs in Japan will be taken over by robots. This is the same future for robots in the food industry.
Sally the Salad Robot
But Japan is not the only country in the world that is adopting robots. Chowbotics is a robotics company that specializes in food robots. They make the salad making robot, Sally. This is a small robot that has a touch screen to take orders and such. The robot prepares a recipe-perfect rendition of the order you place and then presents it to you.
For the United States though, robots replacing humans in an already dwindling economy is troubling. It is now occurring at an accelerated rate since employers find it easier to make a one-time investment in buying robots than constantly pay workers.
Flippy the Burger Robot
Want the flavor of a gourmet burger but in half the price? Then make your way over to Creator! It is a burger joint in San Francisco that passes the savings on to you with their new robot burger flipper. Aptly named Flippy, it’s a food service robot that completely replaces humans in the burger making process.
That is right, there is not a single human finger involved in the making of these burgers. Creator saves what they can from wages and passes them onto their grateful customers.
Until now, robots like Flippy were only but small gimmicks and could perform one simple rudimentary function. Not Flippy though! The entire process, from ordering to delivery is automated.
You order via a tablet. This tablet customizes everything. You select the seasoning, how you want the patty to be cooked, the toppings and the vegetables too! Flippy gets to work and starts the process by grinding up fresh meat for your patty. It seasons, cooks and packs it up to robotic perfection.
Robot Waiters Around the World
In Chennai, India, the robot-themed restaurants turned heads when they were first introduced in the now famous robot restaurant. When food is ready to be served, robot waitresses clad in classy attire carry it out in trays and deliver it to your table.
When you are done with the food, the waitresses come back out and take away your plates. Patrons of the robot restaurant were happy with the quick service.
India is not the only place in the world to do this, however. Many restaurants around the world, especially in the United States, China, and Britain. These robots are non-invasive and specially designed for their respective environments. So the chance of them colliding into someone is pretty low. Unless directly pushed, they cannot fall. They, in fact, warn people in front of them and will wait for them to move.
A restaurant in the Marina Square has been working with their robot waiter for a long time now without as so much of a little collision. While this robot only collects dirty dishes, it is extremely efficient at what it does. They are looking to add more robots to their arsenal since they take over the job of other waiters. The only problem restaurants face is children playing with these robots and distracting them from work.
Normally, this restaurant has to employ more workers in order to ease the flow of collecting dishes and taking orders. With this robot, they effectively cut down costs in the long run since they are eliminating the process of hiring, training and paying workers.
Though more for their efficiency, these food service robots seem to attract patrons simply for the novelty they offer. Restaurants are always looking for a wow factor and these robots offer a ‘two birds one stone’ solution. They cut down costs and offer a novelty for customers to enjoy.
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