The advancement of restaurant technology has spurred restaurants worldwide in accelerating the usage of automation technology to fill labour gaps. Up and rising restaurant technologies such as automated ordering systems, robot servers, robot chefs involving artificial intelligence are creeping into the F&B industry, changing how restaurants operate - increasing productivity and efficiency, ultimately satisfying the changing customer demands.
The Southeast Asian industry and service robot market is expected to witness a CAGR of 10.7% from 2021 to 2026. With increasing interest in restaurant automation deployment, let's look at five popular automation your restaurant can adopt to help you make smarter business decisions.
1) Robot Usher
Due to the travel restrictions caused by COVID-19, businesses are finding it difficult to hire foreign labour. Today’s Singaporeans are expecting more because of higher educational levels, they shun away labour-intensive work such as those in the F&B industry. Hence, tasks like ushering diners into the restaurants can be left to the robots.
Developed by Pudu Robotics, KettyBot is one of the world’s leading AI-powered robots with a friendly voice and intriguing facial expressions. At the reception area, KettyBot acts as a customer service staff, automatically greeting passersby once it detects a potential customer. Kettybot comes with an inbuilt advertising screen for restauranteurs to showcase the latest foods, beverages, and promotions.
2) e-Menu, e-Ordering and Self-Ordering Kiosks
The adoption of automated ordering systems has been accelerated by COVID-19 over the past two years. Digital POS (point-of-sale) systems, food ordering applications - these front-of-house technologies make dining more efficient, appealing to more people. With the whole ordering process automated, dinners reduced dining time by 6 to 9 minutes from the moment they stepped into the restaurant.
The data collected from these automated systems help restauranteurs make better decisions on customers' preferences on food choices, what to retain and what to remove from the menu. Besides, with e-Menu, the food items can be refreshed without incurring extra costs for printing paper menus.
3) Robot Servers
The sales value of robot installations in the global food and beverages industry is expected to reach USD 523 million in 2022. These robots take on various tasks in a restaurant, from welcoming customers into the restaurant to serving food to the customers at their table.
Our customers in the F&B industry shared with us that the usage of our robot waiters have helped them overcome manpower challenges and increase productivity by near 20%. People often have the misconception that robots are here to replace humans; however, the concept is to combine the usage of robots with humans to enhance the overall dining experience for the customers.
A typical human waiter has to walk up to 10km a day; with the assistance of a robot waiter, the human waiter reduces walking by 50% to 80%. Most importantly, servers get to focus on customer interaction and get more rest time during working hours.
4) Robotic Chef & Robotic Barista
The global cooking robot marketing is projected to reach a value of over USD 320 million by the end of 2028 with a CAGR of 16% from 2020. One of the robotic chefs at the forefront is London-based Moley Robotics. Attached to rails fitted to the ceiling in a kitchen, two robotic arms hang down over your oven and hob, and can cook more than 5,000 different recipes. Customers can pick the dish using a touch screen, and it does everything else (BBC).
Besides robotic chefs, robotic baristas are also shaking up the F&B scene. In Singapore, robot barista named ELLA will be serving commuters gourmet coffee at 30 MRT stations by the end of 2022, as part of a collaboration between retail management company Stellar Lifestyle and food and beverage start-up Crown Digital (CNA).
5) Plate Return Robot
The plate/tray return robot speeds up table clearing and reduces waiters' workload by sending the dirty plates back to the kitchen. Equipped with high volume, high carrying capacity, paging function, gesture recognition and voice control module, the plate/tray return robot frees up human servers' workload. It helps boost the table turnaround in restaurants.
The kitchen area is often wet, and reducing walking in a restaurant helps decrease workplace injuries. Besides the F&B industry, the plate/tray return robot is also usable in other industries such as medical, general business, industrial and more.
All in all, the F&B industry is becoming increasingly digital to appeal to more people and for restauranteurs to operate more efficiently. To stay relevant in today's fast-paced world, restauranteurs must leverage automation to provide the best service to customers. Besides, embracing technologies help you build an image as a tech-savvy restaurant. More importantly, you get to save on high labour costs with the help of automation. If you have not embraced any of the above restaurant technologies today, it's time to do so in 2022.