One area in which robots have been on the horizon for a long time is food service. Flippy, Beastro, and their ilk have been able to perform some food service tasks for years, but they haven’t been ablate compete with the minimum wage human workers who can provide human contact with the burgers and lattes they serve up.
There have been some big changes, though — not in robot technology, in this case, but in the circumstances of the market.
The pandemic has changed a lot of things, but one of the biggest ones is the acceptance or even preference for contact-free service.
Having food and drink untouched by human hands is a good thing now for a lot of people. The rest have gotten used to it. Automation is more common and more comfortable than it used to be.
In fact, robots are fun! The makers of Blendid, a robotic smoothie maker, report that customers enjoy watching the robot mix up their juicy concoctions. Now that people;e are less weirded out by robots, the fun quotient is much higher.
Also, the pandemic
Not only did the pandemic change consumer attitudes toward robots in the kitchen, it also created a shortage of human workers who are willing to stay in the kitchen. Restaurants are scrambling to find workers, even though many have raised wages and offered incentives.
Some of the hospitality industry workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic have found other work. Some went back to school. Some can’t take jobs until their kids go back to school — or at least not jobs at the pay scale restaurants usually offer.
And for the minimum wage positions in fast food restaurants, some are making more from unemployment than they would in eight hours of hard, boring work in a kitchen.
The labor shortage means that robots aren’t taking Jos from human workers, and the upfront investment in automation might be worthwhile.
It’s still all about motion control
No matter what automated food service is doing, they still use servos and drive and control systems. Some of the best of this technology in the world is made by Rexroth. We specialize in Rexroth motion control systems, and we can help you with any Rexroth service and support needs. Contact us for immediate assistance.