The future of automation technologies will play a significant role in restaurant automation strategy. However, the Jury is out on the emergence of robots in restaurants. Some individuals view them as a threat to jobs and the ever so important human element of hospitality, while others see them as a cost-saving revolution that will alleviate the ever-acute staffing crises. Whatever the public opinion, reality dictates that robots are, more and more, taking over certain restaurant tasks and systems, and directly impacting the restaurant experience..
Several factors, including rising labor costs, a labor shortage, expensive rents, and employee turnover, have led restaurateurs to look at automating repetitive tasks, actively reduce labor deployment requirements, and ultimately increase profitability. Robots are, therefore, the most obvious and vociferous next step!
Robots are now found in various types of restaurants; from Royal Caribbean cruise ships, that use robotic bartenders, to Costco pizza-making robots, which have helped keep prices low. Other fast-food chains, such as Chipotle and Picnic, have updated their operations with robotic technology to create tortilla chips or make up to 100 pizzas per hour.
Presently, robots are more likely to support restaurant staff by carrying out tasks such as chopping ingredients or cleaning. Automation is also being used to improve customers’ experiences when making reservations, placing orders or paying for their meals. Order kiosks in place of cash registers is becoming more and more prevalent. However, as the future becomes the present, we will begin to see the introduction of human like robotic servers, bartenders, hosts and even valet attendants, consequently robots are only in their infancy and will evolve quickly over the foreseeable future.