Can robots be the restaurant's go-to guy?

  Reporter Ma Jing Yang Tianyue

  Recently, a pancake robot appeared near the Niujie subway station, attracting many citizens to watch and experience it.

With the advancement of technology, robots are more and more widely used in the catering industry.

This alleviated the shortage of labor to a certain extent, and also saved the restaurant a sum of money.

But at the same time, after handing over part of the physical labor to machines, catering practitioners also need to continuously improve service quality to form an irreplaceable value for machines.

  Robot "goes out" to sell pancakes

  Recently, the pancake robot located at the entrance and exit of Niujie subway station became popular on the Internet, and many citizens came here admiringly.

When the reporter arrived at the scene yesterday morning, citizens were queuing up to buy.

The purchase process is similar to that of a vending machine. Citizens select the desired flavor on the screen and then scan the QR code to pay. The robot spreads the pancakes behind the window, adds egg liquid, flips the dough, brushes the sauce, and sprinkles toppings. After about 3 minutes, the pancakes are hot. The pancakes are packed into bags and delivered to the outlet.

  How do pancakes made by robots taste?

Several citizens who bought it said that it tasted similar to artificial ones.

"However, in some places, the sauce is not evenly spread." A citizen said.

  At nearly 11 in the morning, the robot pancakes were sold out, and the staff began to maintain the machine.

"It is still in trial operation, and the number of daily production is limited." The staff member said that the robot can analyze and learn based on the existing data after working every day, and can make 400 pancakes a day after normal business.

  Reduce costs and increase efficiency to alleviate labor shortage

  At noon, the Yami digital health restaurant in Galaxy SOHO heard the sound of takeaway orders one after another, and more than 100 meals were made in one noon.

In order to maintain such a volume of meals, the back kitchen of an ordinary fast food restaurant must be equipped with at least one or two chefs and meal attendants, but in this restaurant, a cooking robot is used to do the work, and only 3 shopkeepers are left in the store. staff and two hourly workers.

  "The simplest quick-hand dishes can be cooked in one and a half minutes, and the longest time-consuming chicken curry only takes 5 minutes, and a maximum of 20 servings can be made at one time." Chen Yun, the founder of the restaurant, introduced that the original intention of using the cooking robot was Cook healthy meals, and later found that using robots can save a lot of salary expenses.

  How much money can robots save?

Chen Yun made a calculation: "It costs about 50,000 yuan to buy a cooking robot, but if you hire a chef, the cost per person will be nearly 100,000 yuan a year. Moreover, the current production capacity of this machine is still far away. No saturation."

  In Haidilao Zhongjun World City Smart Store, the food-delivery robot delivers food to different tables in the front hall, and the smart robotic arm automatically picks up the dishes in the back kitchen. Fragrance, oil, water and other ratios are used to customize the taste for customers.

According to the relevant person in charge of the store, it used to take nearly 20 people to cooperate just to serve the food, but now even at the busiest time, at most 8 people can easily handle it.

According to the person in charge, the automatic pot dispensing machine has been applied in more than 70 Haidilao stores, and the vegetable delivery robot has been deployed in more than 1,000 stores. Many front-line employees bid farewell to the previous high-intensity work mode.

  Robots are inseparable from people

  From the initial careful testing of the water to the large-scale market now, the development of catering robots is inseparable from the advancement of technology.

  Oak Lu Technology, a Beijing company that develops cooking robots, has installed more than 100 points across the country.

A researcher said that if the difficulty of developing an air fryer is 1, then the difficulty of developing a cooking robot is 50. The company has invested hundreds of millions of yuan in the research and development of the cooking robot. It allows the machine to restore the "pan gas" during frying.

"Chinese food is extensive and profound. We turn all the steps in Chinese food into physical combinations such as seconds, grams, and degrees, and import the master's frying process into the robot brain as a recipe program." Guo Qing, CEO of Oak Heron Technology, introduced.

  However, at present, catering robots cannot completely replace human labor, and most of them work in a man-machine collaborative manner.

For example, a pancake robot needs manual delivery of ingredients in advance, and a cooking robot also needs manual delivery of ingredients in real time.

Financial commentator Zhang Xuefeng believes that the gradual introduction of robots in restaurants will be a future trend, but service personnel will still exist.

Robots will force service personnel to improve service quality and form core competitiveness that robots cannot replace.

  "Beijing Daily" February 25, 2023, Page 5