When you think about robots operating kitchens may be something straight out of a sci-fi movie, the day has come that robots are becoming the norm as restaurant automation technologies become more prevalent when restaurant owners and managers seek to leverage technology to improve restaurant efficiency. While robots may not be taking over the world, they are taking over some necessary functions in restaurants. In this article, we are going to talk about why you should be celebrating robots in restaurants if you are a restauranteur.
1. Humans Are Not Eliminated
One of the reasons people are resistant to robots in restaurants is because it seems as if they are going to take jobs away from hardworking people. Truthfully, robots are not going to replace humans in the restaurants. Many years ago, machines for production were thought to be the downfall of the workforce, but instead, they helped humans do their work more efficiently. As more people begin to see that robots are not replacing them in their jobs, the level of social acceptance will continue to rise.
2. Helping With the Staffing Crisis
There are some positions in kitchens that are extremely difficult to keep staff. Since it is so difficult to keep people in these positions, they are the obvious positions to start placing robots. Some of the jobs that have high turnover are dishwashing positions and mundane tasks like prepping the same meals over and over again.
Instead of having to find staff for these positions continuously, robots will be able to take care of these simple tasks which will help the restaurant keep the kitchen running efficiently. Robots could be the cure for the turnover rate in the kitchen. This ongoing challenge has been a constant concern and pain point for many restaurateurs and having a viable solution to the problem could change the way things are done on a day to day basis.
3. Customer Experience
Some people are very concerned about how the customer experience is impacted by robots in restaurants. It is feared that an impersonal experience may cause problems creating return customers and may leave a customer with a negative feeling about the restaurant. The truth is that people are more used to working with machines now than people with online ordering and shopping that the progression to robots in brick and mortar establishments seems natural.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to robots and the customer experience, but the disadvantages are small, and the advantages of consistent service and brand experience often outweigh those disadvantages. The ability to have privacy while eating and socializing is one of the benefits of robots in restaurants.
4. Lower Rates for Restaurant Guests
With lower labor costs, restaurants are able to pass those savings on to their patrons. Serving affordable meals that are tasty and healthy allow guests to have a great experience without breaking the bank. Since the meals are prepared by robots, this eliminates food waste worries, inconsistencies and human error like getting the order incorrect. The less error that happens in the kitchen, the less cost there is to the establishment which means more saving passed on to the guests.
Robots in the Food Services Industry
There is no doubt that robots are entering the food services industry. Some places are already accepting the technology advancement with arms wide open while other people are playing it by ear and waiting to see how the early adopters fare.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Robots in Restaurants
As with any new development in restaurant technologies, there is always a lot of discussion on whether the changes will make things better, worse or if they will fade away and prove to be yet another short-lived fad. It is safe to say that robots in restaurants are not going to be a short-lived fad and that is why understanding the advantages and disadvantages of leveraging restaurant automation trends of having robots improve efficiency of your kitchen is critical.
Humans can be unreliable since they have emotions, health that can be affected by various issues, the desire for vacations and of course there is the pesky little thing called human error. When you have a robot on staff, you can be sure they are going to show up, you don’t have to worry about hiring a replacement in case they want to move or can no longer work in the position for which you hired them, and robots provide a consistent brand experience.
Since robots don’t have to be paid by the hour, restaurateurs are happy to see their labor costs decreasing. While there is the initial upfront investment, the ability to have a dependable robot performing the work without the requirement of a paycheck will allow for less labor costs and fewer headaches. For instance, robotic bartenders are serve the perfect pour every time... and serve more drinks month after month, without needing to take a break or take a vacation
While the above advantages do sound attractive, there are still kinks to be worked out with the use of robots. If the robot is still in the early stages of development, they may break down or malfunction or at least require adjustment. Social acceptance is another thing that has to be considered, but people are more welcoming than you might think.
Are the Robots Worth It?
When you look at the advantages over the disadvantages, it is easy to see that robots will be entering the food industry more and more. As the challenges start to decrease, people will start to notice more robots doing various tasks from greeting, food prep, delivery and more. Depending on the culture of your establishment, you may or may not want to use robots in different areas of your restaurant, or it may be a part of your overall brand experience.
The more humans learn how to cooperate with machines; the easier life is going to be. Instead of thinking that it is either machines or humans that are going to survive, instead, think of it as a partnership that will make your restaurant improve efficiency and increase profitability.
After reviewing restaurant automation trends and the benefits of using robots helping your restaurant run more smoothly, your management team will start to see everyday applications in your own life where a robot could make things better instead of having to do mundane tasks that no one wants to do in the first place.