Ever since their creation, robots have been used in just about any way possible, with applications in pretty much every industry. With a forecasted value of USD 147.26 billion, as well as a CAGR of 17.24%, the global market for robotics, is expected to be quite the colossal industry in the period of 2017-2025. Organizations from all over the world are investing in the industry as they see the potential. This has led to robotics becoming more commonplace than ever before.

Robotic components have become cheaper by the year, and leaps in AI technology have led to the creation of things such as a robot-barista on this page. We have also come to a point where things such as a robotic restaurant can exist. These establishments use AI robots to fully automate the restaurant. The robots offer improvements to the dining experience as well as advantages to businesses. Some food chains have even started implementing robots in their operations, and this is only expected to become more common over time.

Cobots, The Robots Behind The Restaurants 

Cobots are specialized robots designed to operate with humans. Since the 1970s, cobots have seen use in restaurants, which are called automats. They are commonly used to serve and vend food, as well as other basic tasks. One could even consider a vending machine as cobot based on this, as it fully automates the buying and vending process. Modern robotics has also provided the advancements necessary for cobots to be more capable. They can now take food orders and payments with only a few clicks.

The Movement For Automated Robot Restaurants

Many restaurants see the potential in robotics as well as their clear advantages. They are capable of automating almost all of the operations in your average establishment. They can:

  • Make processes simpler

Robots are capable of using the exact amount of ingredients for dishes, with little to no error. Its software can also learn, which can allow it to make its own dishes almost perfectly. This means that culinary skills are not needed in restaurants that use robots. Robots are also capable of working faster, which allows restaurants to serve their customers faster than usual.

  • Offer a cheaper alternative to certain tasks

One of the biggest advantages of using robots is its ability to automate simple and repetitive tasks. Operations such as washing the dishes, cleaning the establishment, and even food serving can be done with fully automated robots. This means that a single robot can do the work of many, which greatly reduces the overall operating cost of the restaurant.

Another advantage of robots is their ability to work for longer periods of time compared to humans. Instead of hiring people to work at different shifts, a single robot can operate 24/7, from morning to evening.

Finally, labor costs aren’t a problem with robots. Employees can charge different rates depending on their skill level, experience, and shift, while robots only require a set operating cost for as long as they’re functional.

  • Provide a better overall experience

Customers can also benefit from automated restaurants. With robots preparing the dishes faster, diners can dine with assurance that they’ll get their meal on time. The food quality will also remain consistent, which lessens the chances of a bad meal, and makes it more likely for the customer to return in the future.

Even the robots themselves can provide a unique experience. Aside from being popular with small kids, robots themselves can serve as the main attraction, which can draw customers. This will effectively change the dining experience for diners of the restaurant.

The Issues With Robot Restaurants

While there are clear benefits to automated restaurants, there are also certain challenges that it has to deal with. Restaurants that use robots must learn how to deal with such challenges to be able to work at maximum capacity.

The variety of taste and food

When humans prepare multiple dishes, they will almost never end up being identical. Robots can provide a certain level of consistency, but this may prove to be a downside in some cases. Diners will find the dishes repetitive and boring, which will lead to customers not returning. A possible workaround would be to give new information to the robot as often as possible, but this requires plenty of time and funding. And since robots can’t formulate their own dishes, restaurants may end up serving limited choices to customers. We just don’t have the technology yet for AI to be able to produce their own recipes.

Problems with employment

The main issue with robots, in general, is their ability to take the place of working individuals. Unemployment can be a real issue for many workers who can be replaced with robots. As such, restaurants need to know how to balance both manual and automated work. 

Robot restaurants will one day become the norm. Modern advancements in robotics, coupled with their increasing affordability, will make them inevitability. But restaurants shouldn’t cast away manual employment entirely and should learn to balance it out with automated technology. At some point, the restaurants that are completely run by humans will become nothing more than a niche experience, for better or worse.