Editorial Feature

Is There A Future For Robots in Restaurants?

AZoRobotics explores the current commercial landscape of robots in restaurants and presents three case studies showcasing notable examples in the field. The future of robots in restaurants, including new developments and research, is also discussed.

Is There A Future For Robots in Restaurants?

Image Credit: Es sarawuth/Shutterstock.com

Using Robots in Restaurants to Improve Health and Safety

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of robots in restaurants as they can help minimize human contact and maintain hygiene standards. Autonomous cleaning robots, UV disinfection robots, and robots that assist with contactless food delivery were developed and deployed.

As seen, robots in restaurants could serve as assistive technologies for several repetitive tasks that could ensure customer health and safety.

How Robots in Restaurants Could Improve Decision-Making

Data analytics and AI-driven insights will play a significant role in optimizing restaurant operations. Robots in restaurants that are equipped with advanced analytics capabilities can gather valuable data on customer preferences, operational efficiency, and inventory management, allowing restaurant owners to make data-driven decisions and improve their overall performance.

Task Diversification for Robots in Restaurants

Researchers are exploring integrating machine learning, computer vision, and robotics to create robots in restaurants capable of fine food preparation and assembly.

As such, the future of robots in restaurants will likely see an expansion in the types of tasks they can perform. From cooking and serving to cleaning and maintenance, robots will continue to take on a wide range of responsibilities, allowing human staff to focus on higher-level customer service and creative aspects of the dining experience.

Robots in Restaurants Coupled with Virtual Reality Experience

Another exciting area of development for robots in restaurants is the integration of robotics with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). This combination can create immersive and interactive dining experiences, where customers can visualize their orders, customize their meals, and even explore virtual environments while enjoying their food.

Collaborative Robots in Restaurants to Increase Efficiency

The rise of collaborative robots, or cobots, will enable humans and robots in restaurants to work side by side in restaurant settings. Cobots are designed to safely interact and collaborate with humans, making them ideal for tasks that require human-like dexterity and decision-making.

This collaboration can lead to increased efficiency, improved workflows, and new possibilities for culinary innovation.

Robots in Restaurants: Current Commercial Landscape

Robots have started making their way into various industries, including the restaurant sector. These automated machines are being utilized to enhance efficiency, streamline operations, and provide novel dining experiences for customers. As a new concept, robots in restaurants are not very common; as such, there is a lot that remains unknown.

In recent years, several companies have emerged as key players in the development and deployment of robots in restaurants. Some prominent players in the business of robots in restaurants include Miso Robotics, Bear Robotics, Ally Robotics, Nala Robotics, SoftBank Robotics, Starship Technologies, Nuro, Kiwibot, to name a few.

These companies have raised hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to develop their products, with some valued at billions of dollars in 2023.

Robots in restaurants often perform tasks such as food preparation, dishwashing, serving, and customer interaction. They are reported to reduce labor costs, increase productivity, and improve overall dining experiences.

Robots in Restaurants: Flippy by Miso Robotics

Miso Robotics developed Flippy as an automated kitchen assistant to handle the repetitive and labor-intensive tasks involved in cooking and frying. Flippy uses advanced sensors, cameras, and AI algorithms to detect, monitor, and cook food items with precision.

By taking on these tasks, Flippy helps to streamline kitchen operations, reduce errors, and increase efficiency. The aim is to give human chefs more time to focus on creative culinary endeavors while ensuring consistent and high-quality food preparation.

Robots in Restaurants: Penny by Bear Robotics

Bear Robotics created Penny, an autonomous food delivery robot, to revolutionize the way food is served in restaurants. Penny navigates through the restaurant environment, delivering meals from the kitchen to customers' tables. Equipped with sensors and obstacle avoidance capabilities, Penny ensures safe and efficient navigation.

The robot allows staff members to focus on customer service and other essential tasks while enhancing the dining experience by providing timely and accurate food delivery.

Robots in Restaurants: Pepper by SoftBank Robotics

SoftBank Robotics developed Pepper, a humanoid robot, to provide interactive and engaging experiences for restaurant patrons. Pepper utilizes AI and natural language processing to understand and respond to customer inquiries, take orders, and offer recommendations.

This social robot enhances customer engagement and creates a unique dining atmosphere. By integrating Pepper into their establishments, restaurants could hope to provide personalized service, entertainment, and a memorable experience to their customers.

Robots in Restaurants: The Future

Robots in restaurants have already begun transforming the industry by automating various tasks and enhancing customer experiences. Companies like Miso Robotics, Bear Robotics, and SoftBank Robotics are leading the way with their innovative robotic solutions.

Looking ahead, we can expect further advancements in the field, including robots in restaurants with more sophisticated capabilities. The ongoing research and development in robotics, AI, and machine learning will pave the way for these advancements.

These advancements show that the future of robots in restaurants holds tremendous potential for transforming the industry by revolutionizing kitchen operations, enhancing customer experiences, and driving efficiency.

This also indicates a promising trajectory for integrating robots in restaurants, making dining experiences more innovative, convenient, and memorable.

Helping the UK Harness the Benefits of Cobotics Cleaning

References and Further Reading

Bear Robotics (2023). Bear Robotics - Hospitality Robots [Online]. Bearrobotics.ai. Available at: https://www.bearrobotics.ai 

Fantozzi, J. (2021). ‘We’re in the age of convergence:’ How robots, AI, and augmented reality are taking over the (food) world [Online]. nrn.com. Available at: https://www.nrn.com/technology/we-re-age-convergence-how-robots-ai-and-augmented-reality-are-taking-over-food-world 

Joshi, N. (2020). Bon Appétit! Robotic Restaurants Are The Future [Online]. Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/cognitiveworld/2020/02/03/bon-apptit-robotic-restaurants-are-the-future/ 

Miso Robotics (2023). Flippy 2 [Online]. Misorobotics.com. Available at: https://misorobotics.com/flippy-2/ 

SoftBank Robotics America (2023). Meet Pepper: The Robot Built for People | SoftBank Robotics America [Online]. us.softbankrobotics.com. Available at: https://us.softbankrobotics.com/pepper 

Sunbergferar (2022). Cobots and the Future of Food: 6 considerations for cobot design [Online]. Sundbergferar.com. Available at: https://sundbergferar.com/cobot-design-and-the-future-of-food-2/ 

Wu, L. (2020). The Rise Of Restaurant Robots Amidst Pandemic Measures [Online]. Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lesliewu/2020/09/27/the-rise-of-restaurant-robots-amidst-pandemic-measures/ 

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

Blaise Manga Enuh

Written by

Blaise Manga Enuh

Blaise Manga Enuh has primary interests in biotechnology and bio-safety, science communication, and bioinformatics. Being a part of a multidisciplinary team, he has been able to collaborate with people of different cultures, identify important project needs, and work with the team to provide solutions towards the accomplishment of desired targets. Over the years he has been able to develop skills that are transferrable to different positions which have helped his accomplish his work.

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