Robots in Restaurants

Some argue that robots in restaurants replace humans and thus increase unemployment levels while others take a different stance – only 5 percent of jobs can be fully substituted by robots and technology. So is there need to worry?


Jobs that involve predictable and repetitive tasks are fairly easy to replace, which accounts for slightly over 50 percent of all on-the-job tasks. At the same time, reports show that robots are expected to replace 6 percent of jobs in advanced economies such as the U.S. Some experts hold the view that this doesn’t hold for the hospitality sector and restaurants in general. Small talk is still important for customers. Others warn that the introduction of robots can cause unemployment. A study titled The Future of Employment by academics Michael Osborne and Carl Benedikt Frey shows that cooks are on the list of high-risk jobs together with accountants’ clerks, watch repairers, insurance underwriters, and telemarketers. Many, however, believe that the rise of unemployment due to robot use is still a theory.


Minimum wage increase

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Examples of Robot and Technology Use

The introduction of Ziosk tablets by Chili’s is one example of robot use in restaurant chains. They are based on artificial intelligence technologies. Tablets are available on tables to take payments and orders. They also recommend specials. Tablets are fitted with a pay-at-the-table touchscreen for secure payment and hassle-free digital ordering. The tablet has multiple functionalities such as an auto-cut receipt printer, chip and PIN keypad, mag stripe reader, mobile payment tap, and EMV enabled card reader. There are different types of payment methods to choose from, including mobile pay, chip card, and swipe card. Additional features include satisfaction reporting and surveys, wifi, and others. Due to its convenient features, the Ziosk tablet is growing in popularity and over 3,000 restaurants already introduced tablets. More than 50 million customers use Ziosk to order on a monthly basis.

Other Applications

Robots can be used in the restaurant business to improve speed of preparation, effectiveness, and capacity. Miso Robotics, for example, introduced an artificial intelligence assistant called Flippy. Flippy offers help with plating, prepping, frying, and grilling. He is fitted with sensors, camera, and software that allow him to “see” the ingredients. The sensors help control temperature, and its hand is turned into a flipping spatula. Caliburger first deployed the robot in Pasadena and preordered more robots for different locations. Flippy now works in the Pasadena location. The AI cooking assistant is still a work in progress, and Miso keeps adding more features and functionalities, for example, a more advanced tracking software. He is advertised as the best burger flipping assistant to cook burger patties.

Another humanoid type of robot has been developed by MasterCard and SoftBank. Called Pepper, this robot is a waiter that accepts credit card payments, offers recommendations, and processes orders. Pepper interacts with customers by way of recognizing and interpreting basic human emotions. He is equipped with a tablet, software applications, and other capabilities to memorize preferences, personality traits, tastes, and more. Nestle announced plans to buy Pepper robots for its locations in Japan to help introduce and promote different products.

Food Service Applications and Use

In addition to robots in restaurants, there are different types of food service apps such as the app of TellSpeck, Halla, and others. TellSpeck, for example, introduced a food sensor scanner that is capable of identifying ingredients and food composition. The best part is that the scanner correctly identifies not only nutrients but also macronutrients, calories, allergens, and even harmful substances.