Restaurant Robotics: How Robots Are Changing Foodservice

Restaurant Robotics: How Robots Are Changing Foodservice

by Aaron Allen
Restaurant Consultant, Speaker & Industry Analyst
Aaron Allen & Associates

Restaurant robotics is a term that is used to describe the use of technology in restaurants to automate certain tasks. This can include anything from using automats to take orders to use robots to cook food. Some people view restaurant robotics as a way to reduce labor costs, while others see it as a way to improve the customer experience. No matter which side of the argument you fall on, there is no doubt that restaurant robotics is changing the game for both restaurateurs and customers alike.

How Robots Are Changing the Restaurant Landscape

Restaurant margins have been under pressure for years. Already in 2019, restaurants were not able to pass inflationary costs on to consumers (back then, the average restaurant price increase was 3.1% while labor cost was growing at 3.8% and food at 5%). And in 2021 restaurant price increases were 4.5% compared to labor costs growing by 8.9%. In addition: $235 billion are paid annually in restaurant wages in the U.S. and the foodservice industry has a $95 billion annual turnover cost.

In this context, some estimates indicate robotics can save between 30% and 70% on labor cost for restaurants. And even though there are only 1 service robots for every 1,500 restaurants (globally, as of 2022), many are coming out of the prototype phase and can do almost anything a human can. Some of the capabilities for monotonous jobs are closer than most people think and penetration is going to happen faster than delivery.

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