Automation: The Future of the Food Service Industry



With the push for $15 minimum wage gaining traction across the nation, the restaurant industry is bracing to make big changes. One trend that is picking up in popularity is automation. Basically, restaurants are eliminating the need of workers, and replacing them with robots or other electronic devices. Customers make orders, pay and receive their food without ever having to interact with a human being.

A new San Francisco restaurant, Eatsa, is doing just that. The establishment is almost entirely automated. To start, they do not have a counter, so no front-of-house employees. Customers neither can see the back-of-house staff putting the meals together. There are talks to get rid of that labor force too, thus becoming an entirely computerized business.

Consumers see that there are pros and cons to this new concept. Some see it as being more efficient and less expensive. However, others say that it leads to less jobs being available on the market, and higher rates of unemployment.

David Friedberg, a software entrepreneur who started Eatsa states, "I would call it different than a restaurant. It's more like a food delivery system."

The process of placing and receiving an order is fairly easy. It consists of selecting a customized meal on an iPad, paying and then waiting until your name and a number shows up on a screen. The number is the storage unit where you will actually be picking up your order.

Friedberg continues, "Technology allows us to completely rethink how people get their food."

He explains how automation has been monumental across all industries, and not just the food service industry. For example, robots are doing complicated tasks such as performing surgeries and operations.

In addition, reducing costs is not something new. If a business is able to cut spending and pass it along to the consumers, it's a good thing for all parties. Friedberg claims, "We can sit and debate all day what the implications are for low-wage workers at restaurants, but I don’t think that’s fair. If increased productivity means cost savings get passed to consumers, consumers are going to have a lot more to spend on lots of things."

Although Eatsa is nearly entirely automated, Friedberg mentions how it doesn't necessarily take away jobs. It can create too, which include but are not limited to, developing the tools and systems for the restaurant to run, and producing food products.

(via The Bulletin)

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Your Dish Might be Made by a Robot in the Future


[iframe id=""] Robots have already replaced humans in many areas of jobs that might unsafe or routine such as bomb diposal robots or assembly line robots. Recently however, robots may be taking over a new area: the restaurant insdustry.

During the Robotics Challenge in California early June, teams competed using robots that could perform tasks that may simple for a human to do, but complex for a robot.

Such tasks included climbing up steps, doing mechanical work, and driving a vehicle. Toward the end of the competition, a team from South Korea won first place with their robot called DRC-Hubo, while teams from the United States placed second and third place.

The attention towards robots however went to a technology show in Tokyo, Japan where people were awed by robots preparing sushi, baked pastries, and cooked snacks.

A spokesperson, Akihiro Suzuki, advocated for this by saying "robots cannot do everything a human can, but they are able to work without becoming tired" and that "if a food can be easily prepared, a robot can repeat the same movement to reproduce the same meal."

Someday, you might see a robot preparing a sushi roll the next time you step into a sushi restaurant.