This section needs expansion with: details of technology used, designers, manufacturers, etc. You can help by adding to it. (May 2014)
Restaurant automation means the use of a restaurant management system to automate the major operations of a restaurant establishment. Even in the early 1970s a number of restaurants served food solely through vending machines. These restaurants were called automats or, in Japan, shokkenki. Customers ordered their food directly through the machines.
More recently, restaurants are opening that have completely or partially automated their services. These may include: taking orders, preparing food, serving, and billing. A few fully automated restaurants operate without any human intervention whatsoever. Robots are designed to help and sometimes replace human labour (such as waiters and chefs). The automation of restaurants may also allow for the option for greater customization of an order.
In September 2021, Karakuri’s 'Semblr' food service robot served personalised lunches for the 4,000 employees of grocery technology solutions provider ocado Group's head offices in Hatfield, UK. 2,700 different combinations of dishes were on offer. Customers could specify in grams what hot and cold items, proteins, sauces and fresh toppings they wanted.
In 2021, Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science engineers developed a method of cooking 3D printed chicken with software-controlled robotic lasers. The “Digital Food” team exposed raw 3D printed chicken structures to both blue and infrared light. They then assessed the cooking depth, colour development, moisture retention and flavour differences of the laser-cooked 3D printed samples in comparison to stove-cooked meat.
Automated restaurants have been opening in many countries. Examples include:
- Fritz's Railroad Restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri
- Výtopna, a Railway Restaurant using model trains: franchise of various restaurants and coffeehouses in the Czech Republic
- Bagger's Restaurant in Nuremberg, Germany
- FuA-Men Restaurant, a ramen restaurant located in Nagoya, Japan
- Hajime Robot Restaurant, a Japanese restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand
- Fōster Nutrition in Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Dalu Robot Restaurant in Jinan, China
- Haohai Robot Restaurant in Harbin, China
- Robot Kitchen Restaurant in Hong Kong, China
- Robo-Chef restaurant in Tehran, Iran, started in 2017, is the first robotic and "waiterless" restaurant of the Middle East.
- MIT graduates opened Spyce Kitchens in downtown Boston, Massachusetts, in 2018
- Foodom, under Country Garden Holdings, opened January 12, 2020, in Guangzhou, China
- Robot Chacha, the first robot restaurant of India, is planning to open in the capital city of New Delhi.
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