Considering the Digital Transformations of the Restaurant Industry


Is it time to start integrating automation into your restaurant operations?


As we discussed in our article regarding SCADA systems integration in manufacturing, the digital revolution and continuation of technological advancements affects many different industries of our society today.

The food industry, in particular, is poised to experience an increase in automation pertaining to the majority of menial tasks. This integration of electrical equipment and industrial software will have a significant impact on business owners, as well as their staff members.

Exploring the advantages of automation in the restaurant industry

There are many news pieces that discuss how restaurants are implementing AI, robots, and automation into their everyday operations. In fact, it appears that it’s becoming the new norm - however it has still yet to really take off, especially among the outlying areas and away from the major city centres around the globe.

So, the question must be asked: Should businesses be lured toward such synchronous capabilities?

Restaurateurs may be tempted by the increase in labour costs, especially as minimum wage continues to rise. Even though the capital expense can be quite high, it does not take long for the technology to quickly pay for itself once perfected. Robots or collaborative robots (cobots) can work around the clock, and do not require breaks - enabling the restaurant to stay open longer and serve more patrons.

Further advantages to install automated equipment in the restaurant industry include:

  • Cobots help to eliminate the risk of error. Once perfected, they could never deliver the wrong dish, and will always take the correct order. They can deliver from any participating restaurant in the area, bringing your order straight to your door.
  • The increase in reliability would eliminate last-minute sick calls, or vacation requests.
  • The overall installation fee continues to drop as advancements in technology continues. Investment fees have believed to have fallen at least 50% since 2005.
  • From automated menus at fast food vendors, sushi conveyor belts, tablets on tables, and cobots cooking pizza pies to satisfy customers - automation has the ability to truly transform the restaurant industry entirely.
  • New experiences within this space would create opportunities for customers looking for something different.

But let’s ask ourselves this: Will the power of human connection continue to play a leading role in how restaurants and their customers operate?

There really are only a few potential future outlooks for the restaurant industry: one in which workers are paid more, receive greater benefits and are enabled to grow into their craft. The other is driven by digitization, where owners are able to manage their facility through complete automation integration. Of course, there is also a third where there is an applicable cohesiveness where humans and robots collaborate - or is that just a pipe dream?

Automation in food ordering

How do you feel about the new kiosks in fast food establishments? Time will only tell if this is the solution that the public prefers. Perhaps within fast food, this type of automation will work - but will this carry through to the use of completely electronic ordering services?

Eatsa, a now defunct restaurant chain based around complete automation may not have caught on - but they have rebranded and will try again. Trendsetters simply rejig the experience to find the right fit for a specific type of dining destination.

Automation inside the restaurant

Can robots be utilized as cooks in the kitchen? What about cleaners, food fetchers, preppers, front end staff or attendance supervisors? Can some of these repetitive tasks be replaced or used to supplement the current kitchen staff? It’s just another situation where time will tell, and with the changes that can occur, options will only increase as the cost of these systems continue to decrease.

Automation of food delivery

Is it possible for all restaurants join the growing demand for food to be delivered to the public, to our doorsteps? We have been waiting on the pizza guy for decades. Will Uber Eats open the doors to a more extensive, flexible and speedy dining experience base?

Automation in restaurants will continue to transform the sector as well as the workforce.

Nevertheless, the technology remains in its growing phase. Like all advancements, it's the explorers and the innovators that will try first. It will also require considerable risk-taking (namely financial) to be involved in the developments of the prototypes. Even though cobots may not be service-ready for a couple of years (or more, depending on your dining expectations) - it is important to be aware of the changes occurring, and to understand how digital transformations may help take your restaurant to new heights.

At T&T Power Group, we’re a team of automation experts.

Our highly experienced team works with clients to develop custom systems capable of operating in any corner of any industry.

Change will continue to drive you and your processes. Contact T&T Power Group today to learn more about the synchronous capabilities in the food industry, and how we can help you advance your own operations today.

 

Posted by Reuben Siebenga | May 1, 2020 | Categories: Automation & Controls