Imagine a scenario where you walk into a restaurant and find robots waiting your tables instead of human beings. The idea has already been realised in countries like Japan. But now a restaurant in Chennai has given India its very first robot-themed restaurant.
The restaurant named (no prizes for guessing) ‘Robot’, which was formerly known as MOMO, was founded by Venkatesh Rajendran and Karthik Kannan. With the entry of the four robot ‘waiters’, it was relaunched to make it more in tune with its theme.
Just like we’ve seen in sci-fi films, orders are placed on iPhones which are conveniently located on every table, and are sent to the kitchen directly. Once the order is ready, it is delivered to the respective tables by designated robot waiters.
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Use of robots in the food industry only goes on to show the extent and the scope of its application while providing customers with a unique experience. In an interview with a newspaper, Karthik Kannan, co-founder of Robot, said, “In the hotel business, it’s no longer just about the food. The experience matters.”
This perhaps explains how efficiency and novelty find a synergy in the use of robots and AI.
Moving beyond waiting tables, robots in other countries have progressed to whipping up drinks to perfection. The concept of Bionic Bars can be found on the cruise ships of Royal Caribbean. First introduced in 2014, on their cruise ship ‘Quantum of the Seas’, the robot bartenders can be found on some of their other ships now. With names like Shaken, Stirred, Mix and Mingle, the ‘bartenders’ man every bar in twos. They can make two drinks per minute and over thousand drinks per day.
The land dwelling cousins of these robot bartenders, can be found at the Tipsy Robot in Las Vegas. Taking over the bar in July 2017, the two robotic arms function in a similar fashion to that of the ones aboard the Royal Caribbean ships.
And the robots don’t stop at making drinks. In 2016, The Huis Ten Bosch amusement park in Nagasaki, Japan pushed the limits of the use of robots in the food industry by introducing robot chefs. The robot chefs, which were funded in part by the Japanese government to the tune of $265,000, was an experimental venture to ascertain which areas of food manufacturing were suited for automation and which weren’t. Apart from robots making savoury pancakes, cocktails and doughnuts in front of the customers, androids that intimated diners at their tables about the end of their buffet hours were also experimented with.
With AI gaining momentum in various fields, we await to see how successful the food industry can get by going the robot way.