When we talk about the service industry, the Restaurant industry tops the list. It is one of the major industries across the world. And the outbreak of the COVID – 19 pandemics has made restaurant automation talk of the town. Hygiene and safety have become the most important concerns of people today, resulting in automation across food manufacturing. Companies are now developing, improving, and perfecting stately technologies to automate daily restaurant processes. This not only minimizes worker presence across the production process and eliminate potential contamination, but also result in lower operational costs, increased productivity, and more efficient customer service.
Here in this post, we will talk about automation in the restaurant industry and how it has transformed the overall experience for diners, restaurateurs, and the industry as a whole.
Here we go……
What is Restaurant Automation?
The use of technology to make restaurant businesses more efficient and automate the entire process from ordering to delivering is called restaurant automation. Today, more and more companies are working on developing robotics for the restaurant industry. And the benefits that restaurant automation provide are endless. That is why many restaurants have already started adopting technology into their processes. According to research, the global food automation market is expected to reach $14 billion by 2025.
Examples of Restaurant Automation:
The biggest example of restaurant automation is “SPYCE.” It is a restaurant in downtown Boston founded by four robotics engineers from MIT. The restaurant describes itself as ‘the world’s first restaurant featuring a robotic kitchen that cooks complex meals.’ At SPYCE, digital kiosks are used to help customers place their orders and robotic chefs to auto-prepare, mix and serve their meals. The human interaction at SPYCE is minimal. The robotic chefs produce each meal fresh-to-order in three minutes or less.
Speaking about their robotic kitchen, Luke Schlueter, Co-Founder and Lead Mechanical Engineer at SPYCE said, “Our woks cook by constantly tumbling your food, which provides a really nice and even sear. They’re heated with induction, and we have temperature control to perfectly cook your meal every time.”
Another example of restaurant automation is Zume Pizza. Zume Pizza is an automated restaurant in California’s Bay Area. This restaurant has combined human labour and robotics for better efficiency and enhanced productivity. Robots handle repetitive tasks like rolling out the dough, spreading sauce, and carrying each pizza into and out of the oven, etc. Robotics in Zume Pizza can make up to 370 pizzas an hour, which is an unbelievably a great number.
Recently, Zume has added a fleet of special delivery trucks that features smart ovens that cook pizzas on the way to their destinations. CEO and Chairman of Zume, Alex Garden, believes that automation exists to improve human lives at all levels, from the employees to customers and the community.
Other restaurants that are using robotics include Briggo, Chowbotics, Blended, Wilkinson Baking Company, Takeoff, and Kiwi Campus.
Impact of Restaurant Automation
Of course, the sole motive of a business is to have increased productivity and earn more profits. And, automation makes things unbelievably more efficient. Automation of the restaurant industry will significantly decrease the restaurant’s costs while increasing efficiency. Applying automation will help restaurant owners to gain a competitive advantage. Restaurant automation tools deliver a real business impact, while operational task automation saves time, energy, and reduces training across the organization. In addition to this, automation streamlines other tasks at the restaurant by making them simpler and faster.
It is believed that restaurant automation can quicken the dining process by roughly six to nine minutes, resulting in better customer service. Now, customers will not have to wait for their orders. This will not only improve customer’s experience, but also it will lead to higher revenue for restaurants. Restaurant automation has wholly transformed the overall experience for diners, restaurateurs, and the industry as a whole.
Advantages of Restaurant Automation
More and more restaurants are now realizing the potential of robots and the plethora of benefits accompanying them. Robotics can be used in automating most of the processes that are carried out in a restaurant. Here are some of the critical advantages of using robots in a restaurant:
1. Simplifying the ordering process
Sometimes the most significant task at any restaurant is placing the order. Often, customers’ have to wait for long to place their orders, which irritates them. But, automation of restaurants will simplify the entire ordering process with ordering kiosks. Ordering kiosks are gaining popularity in the fast-food industry. Major chains like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, etc., are already testing ordering kiosks. These kiosks allow customers to place their orders in and complete payment without any human assistance.
2. Simplifying the cooking process
Another benefit of using robots in a restaurant is streamlining the cooking process. Robots can be used to prepare delicious food items using accurate proportions of ingredients. The chances of errors are minimized because the robots are fed with data that helps robots replicate the dishes without error.
3. More options on the plate of diners
Automation of restaurants can help restaurant owners to offer more options on the platter of diners. They can now provide different dishes from across the world using robotics as culinary skills do not limit them. This will not only help restaurants draw a more massive crowd from various backgrounds but also help increase revenues.
4. Enhanced productivity
There is no doubt that robots can work faster than humans, which results in enhanced productivity. Using robotics in restaurants will reduce the waiting time for customers, enable faster checkouts, and increase customers’ intake during working hours, thereby increasing the overall profit.
5. Reduced operational costs
Another benefit of implementing robots in restaurants is – reduced operating costs. A robot can carry out multiple tasks such as cooking meals, washing utensils, taking orders, serving food to customers, keeping the kitchen and dining area clean, etc. These are the tasks undertaken by multiple people. However, using robots for these tasks will significantly reduce operating costs. Moreover, robots can work for longer hours without getting tired, which is not the case with humans.
6. Capacity management
Capacity management is a task for any restaurant. Of course, it is stressful for humans to work beyond their capacity. However, it is not the case with robots. Robots can keep track of capacity in real-time, which helps restaurants and customers have smoother experiences even in tighter situations.
7. Eliminating food waste
With humans eliminating food waste is not possible; however, robots can help eliminate food waste. Robotics use analytics and prediction to measure food use and place intelligent ingredient orders.
8. Automated delivery
Robotics can also be utilized for faster, smoother & more efficient food delivery. For instance, Domino’s Pizza is already testing DRU, a high-tech, autonomous robot, developed by Starship Technologies. DRU features inbuilt cameras & GPS systems. It carries about 4-5 medium pizzas and delivers them independently to the customers via a code delivered to their phone.
9. A better dining experience to customers
Last but not least, robots can improve customers’ dining experience. Reduced wait time and consistently served delicious food will result in a pleasurable experience for diners. This will result in repeat business and increased revenues for the restaurant. In addition to this, robots can also provide an engaging and intuitive experience to diners. For instance, a humanoid robot can provide small kids with a fun experience.
Disadvantages of Restaurant Automation
Undoubtedly, restaurant automation brings in several advantages, but it also poses some severe threats, which are as follows:
1. High Implementation Cost
Adopting robotic technologies can be costly for restaurateurs, so not all restaurateurs would be able to incorporate technology into their restaurants. Implementing robotics can be incredibly expensive for small restaurateurs. Besides, technical issues and equipment maintenance will again add up to their overall cost.
2. Increased Unemployment
One of the major disadvantages of restaurant automation is increased unemployment. Of course, implementing robots will minimize the need for humans, which will lead to unemployment.
Alternative Work Options For Restaurant Workers
There is no doubt that hospitality is a people business, and the robot cannot replace the need for quality team members. Restaurant automation is primarily focused on the monotonous and time-consuming aspects of managing a restaurant. Managers and other staff members will still be needed to take care of the restaurants’ most important component – that’s their guests. But the truth remains that fully autonomous vehicles and equipment are coming. So, it is better to be prepared for the future. With restaurant automation, human activities will be narrowed to the minimum, which will result in unemployment.
Be that as it may, restaurant workers can consider learning a digital skillset. Learning a digital skillset can significantly change their lives. They can use these skill sets to start their own online business or work as a freelancer. There are sundry options to choose from, such as affiliate marketing, content marketing, digital marketing, etc.
There is no right time to start learning a digital skillset than today. The world is already moving towards digitalization, and in the future, there will be a huge demand for people with digital skillsets. Either you can choose to cry for what is happening or simply prepare yourself for a better future. It is absolutely up to you!
The best thing about digital learning is – you can learn it from the comfort of your home. Also, you don’t have to be highly qualified or tech-savvy to learn digital skills. All you need to start learning a digital skillset is – your time, an internet connection, and a laptop/desktop.
LEARN DIGITAL SKILLSET TODAY, FOR A BETTER TOMORROW!