Automation just around the corner – will robots replace waiters

Automation just around the corner – will robots replace waiters?

While many members of the human species look forward to a time when robots will do all the work for us, vast numbers of other people feel outraged by advances in this field. Will the cashiering profession be a thing of the past?? Robots are already hunting for the "waitress".

In many places under the sign of the gastronomic biggest problem is not a lack of customers or supplies, but the lack of hands to work. Catering is a tough piece of bread, with picky customers, demanding bosses and, let's not kid ourselves, hard work. Preparing even a dozen or so meals for most of us would be a huge challenge, not forgetting about the conditions in the kitchen, i.e. high temperature and humidity.

Employees are also forced to work standing, frequent, bending and lifting heavy objects. On top of that, the overwhelming waste, whether to clean off the table, from the counter or from the apron. It's not easy in stores either, in fact, it's similar. Although there is nothing to generalize, and the specifics of the job depend on the specific environment in which it takes place, we can safely say that these are professions characterized by a heavy physical contribution to earnings.

As reported by app portal owners and managers of restaurants and hotels are constantly recruiting and implementing. They incur costs in finding, training and deploying new employees. Time, wage and nerve costs. The worst thing for them is that they have to do it all the time, because the rotation for waitressing positions is really high. Similarly high is also the expected salary that they want to get on the so-called "social network". hand.

Is robotization the solution to catering torment?

We live in a time where phones are our ultra command centers that fit in the palm of our hand, although the mischievous would say that this has gotten a little worse lately. Well, you can not have everything, the issue of working area at the expense of the size of the device is most acceptable for consumers. We live in times when artificial intelligence itself selects the settings of our smartphone cameras, tells us what to watch, buy or eat, or even drives autonomous cars or organizes our lives through the Internet of Things.

The issue of robots could certainly be a solution for the catering industry, if such solutions were more available and, above all, refined. Of course you can already see the clear application of robotics in manufacturing or specially prepared robots in the sex and porn industry. Scenarios in which robots known from science fiction films like "War of the Androids", "Star Wars" or the extremely friendly waiter from the movie "Passenger" walk freely among us are still just science fiction. So it is not able to solve the problem of lack of hands for waiter's work, although there are already robots that are complementary links for catering staff.

Probably many of those reading are familiar with the character that is Ariana Grande. However, not everyone is aware that it has been known before, thanks to the series produced by the Nickelodeon television station, "The Bird. "Alone & Cat". This is not particularly relevant to the robotics content, except for one fact. In the heroines' favorite restaurant, customer service is provided by robots, which is the basis for comedy adventures.

This is not at all an unrealistic image, as in Japan this sight is quite common, and robots are already able to drive up to tables with ordered dishes and drinks. They are also able to clean up leftovers.

While visions of robotic humans are what come to mind when thinking of such robots, Japan's Penny robots are more like giant Yeedi Vac Stations, except that they are controlled by a computer program and voice.

Pennies, however, are not a cheap and widely available solution. So before they enter the Polish market it may take decades. In addition, the Japanese culture is much more automated than ours and it does not arouse much emotion in people, which in our country could have a different effect, the opposite, by the way.

The problem of the industry – the human factor?

Hiring in food service is quite peculiar and problematic, although it is probably one of the less structured hiring processes available anywhere. While not without its flaws and problems, which have been exacerbated by the coronavirus outbreak and pandemic restrictions.

Many restaurants, hotels and bars are facing a shortage of staff. Many entrepreneurs say that salaries for waiters have risen sharply and are a major cost of running a restaurant, which also stimulates the same movement on the part of competitors. This one, in addition to raising wages, often buys up top employees and undermines opponents' businesses.

The employment of a waiter can also be a real problem and is associated with a huge cost and burden for the entire restaurant and management staff, who instead of developing must work on keeping their business in check.


Automation – app as waiter?

With help come mobile waiters in the form of mobile applications. Convenient, always in your pocket or purse or hand, of course. In Poland we already have service establishments that allow ordering food remotely. Apps are a much cheaper alternative than humans and don't require as much interest and dutifulness as employees.

In addition, they are able to serve many more people, and in the event of a service problem, you will have the cost of the developer's service rather than treatment, premiums or lawsuits. Apps also can't take vacations, they won't leave overnight and they can work on days off and holidays, in fact they can work anytime.

The customer enters the premises. Opens menu on his smartphone, selects dishes, side dishes, drinks. Mobile waiter shows what others have ordered and suggests matching extras. Customers increase their order and conveniently pay directly from their smartphone. A mobile waiter took the order, collected the payment and passed it on to service. On top of that, they have given the customer another loyalty stamp or passed on a discount on their next order. When food is ready, customers get a notification and pick up their order at a designated location.

In addition to the benefits for business, customers can also benefit from this solution. Customers themselves choose, order, pay for and potentially pick up their food, which removes the pressure and stress associated with waiting for the waiter to order and the unpleasant situations associated with his presence.

Customers also don't have to wait for menus, order acceptance or ability to pay. Guests do not have to queue, and the function of showing willingly ordered dishes also reduces the need to ask for recommended staff dishes. According to frivo.en venues can fill a 17% larger order this way, 27% faster, with 20% less staff

A mobile waiter can be a very good addition to any staff. All the more so in times when the phone has become an indispensable element of every day life, and the current young generation practically does everything with a smartphone. – Order without waiting. Pick up when ready – application developers shout to us, tempting us to use its benefits.

It is obvious that such application will not work in every place, and complete elimination of people is still impossible in the sector of waiter services. Mobile applications are an interesting addition and considerable facilitation not only for the owners of premises The development of this medium contributes to the increasing dangers : "open", "special" and "certified" will be categories based on the degree of risk.

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