Author: Caijun Zhao
In 2020, the world’s first “fully automated restaurant”, FOODOM, opened in Foshan, Guangdong province, China. “Fully automated restaurant” means that all the workloads in the restaurant, including greeting customers, taking orders, cooking and making drinks, delivering food, and cleaning up, are taken care of by robots only. There is no human staff in the restaurant. FOODOM has 46 different types of robots and can provide over 200 dishes for nearly 600 customers. The cuisines served in the restaurant range from traditional Chinese dishes to Western-style fast food. The restaurant is operated by Qianxi Robotics Group.
Qianxi Robotics Group, an innovative comprehensive high-tech enterprise, was founded in 2019, as a wholly owned subsidiary of Country Garden. One of the main missions is to apply advanced technologies to develop the leading robotics restaurant chain brand in China, which provides a smart and clean dining environment with abundant food categories. Qianxi Robotics values research, design, and innovation. There is a 750-person research and development team behind the robot restaurants.
There are many advantages of automated restaurants. First of all, meals are delivered by a conveyor-belt system that runs through the ceiling of the restaurant, and thus robot restaurants are more efficient in terms of space used. Secondly, the waiting time for food is much shorter than human-operated counterparts. Noodle robots can serve more than 120 bowls of noodles per hour. People only need to wait 20 seconds for their breakfast after the order and an advanced burger robot can serve a delicious burger in 20 seconds, which is nearly double the efficiency of the current fast food industry giants. Additionally, cooking robots can compete with famous chefs as the robots imitate and improve the actions of experienced human chefs through a lengthy trial-and-error process. Thus, the robot restaurant guarantees not only efficiency but also flavors. Furthermore, the standardized cooking process and the absence of human-to-human contact also guarantee hygiene and the safety of dining out during the pandemic. A restaurant without human workers could potentially reduce the risk of coronavirus infection.
The whole system of the automated restaurants has been improving to meet the new needs of customers. After two years, Qianxi Robotics Group brought their pink-and-white restaurant and the overall intelligent Robotics solutions to the Olympics Valley in Beijing in 2022. Robots served meals for Olympic participants of the 2022 Winter Olympics. In this way, person-to-person contact was minimized and guaranteed the safety of participants. People can order food by simply scanning a QR code from a cellphone, which is more convenient than a human server. And the restaurant provided food 24 hours a day.
On Chinese social media, Sino Weibo, the posts with the tag “Qianxi Technology” has been read as high as 200 million times, showing Chinese people’s passion for new technological solutions. The Robotics industry in China witnessed a boom at Beijing Winter Olympics. Various robots were made to provide hi-tech services for Olympics game participants, for example, hotel check-in, food delivery, translation and security inspection, and so on. At the same time, pandemic control is one of the most important tasks. Robotics technology played an essential role in meeting various needs while smoothing the operation of the events.
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