The waiter is not always a person now – Hi-Tech – Kommersant

by time news

The COVID-19 pandemic could divide the history of the restaurant business into “before” and “after”. Employees of cafes, bars and restaurants left their jobs en masse when the establishments were quarantined. After the restrictions have been lifted, many catering owners cannot find enough staff. Some find a way out of the situation by replacing people with robots.

Last Wednesday, the US Department of Labor announced that the number of vacancies in the country in May reached an all-time high of 9.2 million. Employees are most actively hired now in healthcare, education, hotel and restaurant businesses.

The paradox is that, along with the off-scale level of demand for labor in the United States, there is still an increased unemployment rate when compared with 2019.

Many of those who left their jobs during the pandemic are reluctant to return to work. According to a recent study by Indeed, only 10% of unemployed people are in a hurry to find a new job.

And this situation is typical not only for the United States, but also for many European countries.

It is not easy to replace doctors and teachers. As it turned out, chefs and waiters can. Modern technologies and robots are taking their place.

Visitors in cars at ten McDonald’s restaurants in Chicago are no longer met by a cashier, but by a robot. More precisely, the voice recognition system, which accepts the order, invites the visitor to complete the basket, and then sends the information received directly to the kitchen and to the checkout.

The same system works in the American fast food chain Checkers.

Other chains, such as Dave & Buster, decided to relieve the waiters during the pandemic, and at the same time avoid unnecessary contacts between staff and visitors. You can order and pay for food here through the mobile application.

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A similar application was also launched by the Cracker Barrel network, which has more than 650 locations in the United States.

But ordering food through the app is already commonplace. But robotic waiters serving food are still rare. Such a robot meets guests at the Impressive Dumplings restaurant in the capital of the Australian state of Queensland, Brisbane.

The robot’s name is Bella, and she is able to serve 120-150 tables per day, covering a distance of 2-3 km. The robot would be created by the Chinese company Pudu, which now wants to find applications for its devices in the hospitality industry.

A pizzeria has opened in Paris, where there is not a single human employee at all. Visitors order at a self-service kiosk. And in the glassed-in kitchen, robots work to collect, bake and pack pizza. Production speed – up to 80 pieces per hour.

In the near future, the founders of the Pazzi pizzeria intend to expand their business and open several more points in the capital of France and Switzerland. However, even such a restaurant cannot do without a person. The robots are monitored remotely by Pazzi engineers.

These are just a few examples of a global trend that will only intensify in the foreseeable future.

But while robots are too expensive.

Their use is more expedient in the network business, where cooking is a unified process, and the menu is not very large.

Kirill Sarkhanyants

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