We could be looking at one of the world's first-ever robotic restaurants, located in Guangdong, China. The timely opening of the contactless restaurant comes as the industry is hell-bent on reducing human-to-human contact due to virus transmission risks.
The Qianxi Robot Catering Group, a subsidiary of Country Garden, recently announced in a press release that is has opened up a robot-powered restaurant in the city of Shunde in China's Guangdong province.
"Powered by the latest in advanced technologies, the restaurant has separate sections for Chinese food, hot pot, and fast food and features a wide selection of dishes, each one of which is delivered to the waiting diner within seconds," the release states.
The restaurant has more than 20 robots capable of preparing up to 200 menu items that can be served in as little as 20 seconds. Many of the dishes are Chinese cuisine, clay pot rice, and noodles.
Though the release wasn't specific on robot tasks in the kitchen, there is a fleet of pink server robots on the front-end of the restaurant that delivers dishes to patrons.
As the virus pandemic continues to rage, robot-run restaurants are taking off across the world. We noted Friday, fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) debuted the "restaurant of the future," where automation and food lockers dominate the storefront.
Zhao Chunsheng, a robot specialist and professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said: "The Qianxi robot restaurant has innovatively achieved both software-hardware integration and man-machine cooperation. It helps to better run a smooth operation through the practical application of robots."
"Qianxi has the most advanced technology with a vast product lineup. It fills the market gap and will have a significant impact on benchmarking in adding value to industry development as well," Chunsheng said.
Country Garden's robo-restaurant could be one of the world's first automated eateries. We've noted kitchens have partially delegated some tasks to robots, such as flippy, the robot hamburger chef, blended with some human interaction.
The pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the automation phase of restaurants worldwide - recent studies we've cited indicate that robots and artificial intelligence will displace tens of millions of jobs by 2030.