Food & Beverage places like restaurants, kiosks, QSRs and dark kitchens have always aimed to provide service and food with personal touch, warm service and passionately dished out delectable curated menus by F&B teams. The current pandemic has impacted the way eateries operate in an unprecedented way. This is probably the right time to look closely at the role of robotics and automation in the world of diners as this concept proves to keep the soul of service aligned with the efficacy of science.
In a food and beverage place, an ideal scenario would be to have a balance between human touch and robotics. Only a perfect mix of these two could help establish and operate a F&B outlet that could boast of warmth and smiling service achieved through human involvement wherein, efficiency, consistency and competence could be accomplished via science and robotics.
One can envisage walking into an eatery and being welcomed by a lovely smile of a uniformed team member while a robot does other jobs like assembling the burger, cleaning the kitchen area and assisting human team members deliver an unsurpassed experience to the guests each and every time.
While pandemic has impacted the F&B industry across the country, it has also forced restaurateurs to ponder new ways as to how we do F&B business. Few critical elements of a successfully run food & beverage outlet are quality of food and service, consistent delivery and earned trust that the patrons have on the establishment. When Robotics and a certain level of automation is plugged into the world of food and beverage, following incredible things may happen:
Robots can take upon certain aspects of work flow at the eateries and consistency in product delivery could be tremendously improved. Just imagine a robot flipping a burger patty on a hot plate, cooking a butter chicken in the pan to perfection or tossing a veg chowmein in a wok can only make the product quality superior while ensuring product consistency at all times.
Wherever precision is needed, like chicken tikka butter masala to be cooked at just the right temperature, paneer tikka perfectly charred in tandoor and pasta cooked to al-Dente – robots once programmed well could easily carry out these chores reliably.
Assembling certain food and beverage items like burgers, Thai curries, Indian curries, pastas, pizzas, milkshakes and many more delicacies could be easily programmed into machines/ robots and such work can be perfected with ease.
Delivery outlets or dark kitchens can make excellent use of robotics by handing over the monotonous and repetitive tasks to machines while the creative bit can be focused upon by individuals. A simple example would be warming up of “dum rice” of chicken biryani in the microwave initiated by the machine while layering and garnish of the yummy biryani could be finished by a person.
Chatbots can suggest special menu items to the customers visiting the outlet. This would help suggestive sell and upsell, pushing the F&B revenue up.
Facial recognition of the guests through machines, remembering their preferences and choices, recording and placing their orders in no time are just some advantages of the limitless possibilities the world of robotics promises to offer in the coming exciting era of Food & Beverage in the post-pandemic times.
Automation in the area of cleaning of utensils, service gear, kitchens etc. done by robots can immensely increase the level of hygiene and upkeep of the bustling and busy kitchens.
Team members can focus on taking care of the guests and providing them with warm, smiling and caring services creating memorable experiences. Human touch will ensure the connectedness we all crave for and robotics will ensure an immaculate experience.
As the robots and machines continue to develop and evolve, hands down, there will be enhanced efficiency and the experience of consumers at F&B eateries will simply keep getting better and refined. Food & Beverage places are dependent on manpower as these operations are labor intensive. Development of robotics in this arena would reduce the dependency on substandard service and inconsistency.
Introduction of machines and robots in the field of food and beverage diners is still at a nascent stage and rewards of mastering this in the F&B world will have long term benefits, which are here to stay. In the food and beverage industry, it is those favorite dishes coupled with heartwarming smiles and familiar faces that keep patrons coming back one more time. Integrating science into operations will only ensure that the soul of service is now error free.
(Varun Behl is a Jaipur-based restaurateur operating a chain of restaurants and QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants)