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Technology

Robots gain a place in the front of the house

Taking photo of wine
Photograph courtesy of Richtech Robotics

The spotlight on robotics in the restaurant industry has been largely focused on behind-the-scenes deployments, where automated machines perform some repetitive kitchen tasks.

As technology advances, however, restaurant operators might want to consider opportunities for robotics in the front of the house as well. Robots that can move autonomously and have the ability to communicate with guests can provide a novel experience that can differentiate one restaurant from others and create opportunities for sharing on social media.

Research from Deloitte found that restaurants have a significant opportunity to win over customers by creating “moments that surprise [them] and exceed their expectations.” Fewer than half of the consumers surveyed in the report—43%—said they were “delighted” by their restaurant experiences, on average, indicating a key area where restaurants have room for improvement.

Refreshing the dining experience

Robots that interact with customers can play a role in enhancing restaurant guests’ overall experience. In fact, according to a report issued last year, consumers say they might be enticed to visit a restaurant with a robot on staff, just for the novelty of the experience.

Sugar Mediterranean Bistro in Stockton, Calif., for example, recently added a Matradee robot, made by Richtech Robotics, to carry trays of food out to customers’ tables, and the new addition to the staff is generating considerable attention.

“People are coming in with their phones, recording, taking pictures. Everybody is loving it,” Ana Ortiz, general manager of the restaurant, told NBC News.

Matradee autonomous foodservice robots, which are available in two versions, can also open kitchen doors, speak several languages, tell jokes and sing “Happy Birthday” to customers to help create special experiences for guests.

The robots also have a personality. If diners don’t retrieve their food quickly enough for example, the robot gives them some encouragement with the sassy one-liner: “Please take your food; I have to go back to work.”

The Matradee autonomous foodservice robots leverage state-of-the-art sensor technologies, including LiDAR (light detection and ranging) and machine vision, that allow them to navigate dining rooms safely.

A recent report from Research and Markets predicted that the global robotics market would expand significantly in the next five years across a wide range of industries and use cases. The report noted that consumer acceptance has grown for the deployment of robotic technology in customer-facing situations.

“Robots are finding their way into more consumer use cases,” the report concluded.

For more information about how robotics can play a role in enhancing restaurant operations, visit Richtech Robotics.

This post is sponsored by Richtech Robotics

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