Restaurants and robots: Don’t be alarmed

So much of the recent news about robots in restaurants has focused on the kitchen, where experts seek to engineer the perfect automated pizza maker or a robotic fry station attendant. While the jury’s still out on whether these devices could ever demonstrate the dexterity humans have for making food taste good, they seem more approachable for many restaurant operators than service robots. Even so, the launch of these tools is often marked with headlines like “Attack of the pizza making robots” and “The robots are here,” as if we’re facing an alien invasion!

If you’ve ever been served by a robot in the front of a restaurant, it can be rather surprising at first. For customers and staff alike, the presence of these automated workers can set off alarm bells. Customers might worry the lack of human interaction will ruin their experience or result in unnecessary mistakes. For employees, robots might incite fears of being replaced.

The ultimate helping hand, robots are uniquely positioned to support restaurants through the current wave of labor shortages and inflated food costs — that is, if they’re introduced and used correctly.

Relieve, not replace

To ensure robots become an ally to service staff, it’s important to set expectations about what these automated co-workers can and can’t do. They are best utilized to perform physical, repetitive, and manually straining tasks, thus

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