The eatery offers hundreds of menu items and delivers them in mere moments. Will this spark a trend in robotic dining experiences?
In the age of digital transformation, organizations are leveraging artificial intelligence, IoT devices, automation, and more to streamline their operations. In the 21st century, robots, a key component of automation, are no longer strictly staples of manufacturing factory floors. Today, an increasingly sophisticated fleet of automatons are a common part of our day-to-day lives.
Robots have been tapped as robotic security guards in shopping malls and others, such as the da Vinci surgical robot, are being used to assist in the operating room. As a testament to our modern times, a recent report notes that in the not so distant future some companies will have not only human resource departments, but also robot resource departments.
Now, a company has recently opened what it says is the world’s first “robot-run” restaurant complex, but what does that look like?
Last month, Qianxi Robot Catering Group opened the robotic restaurant facility in Guangdong, China. The complex encompasses 2,000 square meters of total space and can accommodate approximately 600 patrons at a time. Those so inclined shalt not worry about limited food selections.
The restaurant’s extensive menu includes 200 items allowing diners to choose from a vast spectrum of robotically crafted culinary creations. These offerings range from standard fast-food fare to hot pot, Chinese food, and more. Within this sprawling space, more than 20 robots are stationed to cook these orders and deliver these items to patrons. The robot-chefs can create some of these menu items “in as little as 20 seconds,” per the release.
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There are of course health and safety standards associated with dining experiences at old-fashioned human-operated restaurants, and a similar set of standards will hold true for robotic variants. On the day of the opening, China released “technical specification for robot safety certification in the food sector.”
“The Qianxi robot restaurant has innovatively achieved both software-hardware integration and man-machine cooperation. It helps to better run a smooth operation through the practical application of robots,” said Zhao Chunsheng, mechanical engineering specialist and academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in a press release.
“Qianxi has the most advanced technology with a vast product lineup. It fills the market gap and will have a significant impact on benchmarking in adding value to industry development as well.”
The Qianxi Group general manager explained that the company plans to construct a number of centralized kitchens this year to extend similar projects in other cities. At the same time, the company expects to mass-produce 5,000 robots annually.
Coinciding with the grand opening, Qianxi Group and Siemens also announced an agreement to “boost the digital development of the smart dining segment, including joint development of the industry’s first innovative smart dining IoT platform.”