The COVID-19 pandemic has stretched all restaurants past their limits, and while the unfortunate were not able to survive, many have found solutions in automated technology.
Being unable to operate normally during the pandemic due to lockdowns caused many problems for the restaurant industry. Staff, both new and long-standing, have been let go; there have been massive labor shortages and supply and distribution issues as well.
One way many restaurants have had to pivot is by offering delivery services. Even some restaurants that did not believe they would ever adapt to deliver did so out of necessity.
Automated technologies have emerged as a beneficial resource in support of all of the pivots that restaurants have had to make.
Automation Technology for Deliveries
Food service delivery became a necessity throughout the pandemic but has always been a popular service.
Those restaurants that did not previously offer delivery services had to learn how to adjust quickly, which came with its own share of challenges. The pandemic also required unique features, including contactless delivery and payment options.
Automated technology for delivery services has come in a wide array, from true robotic automation to sophisticated technology that people might not necessarily associate with automation.
These possibilities range from self-driving delivery, where auto-piloted vehicles transport food to customers for a truly contactless experience.
Starship technologies provide a similar option, with smaller automated robotic vehicles transporting food or other packages to individuals.
Third-party delivery services implemented contactless delivery options where drivers or cyclists will drop food at your door. But DoorDash takes it one step farther with delivery robots of their own.
Back of House Automated Technology
The labor shortage for the restaurant industry is attributed to the Great Resignation, employee fears over safety in a pandemic era, and peoples’ reluctance to re-enter the field after having had enough time off to pivot to a new career or upgrade their education.
Kitchen work has always been a labor of love. Kitchens can be hot, chaotic, wet, and even dangerous at times.
Automated technology has stepped in to fulfill the needs of the back of a house in a variety of ways. These include: washing and storing dirty dishes, cooking food, flipping burgers, and even selecting ingredients.
While there are some bugs in some robots’ abilities to make good selections and solve problems, it is clear that the benefits of these machines are proving greater than any consequences.
One way in which these robots are particularly helpful is in preventing injury. Kitchen work comes with a lot of repetitive movements as well as hazards that can injure workers.
Not to mention, risks are further mitigated because robots handling the food means less contact to spread the virus.
Front of House Automation Options for Restaurants
Some varieties of front-of-house automation have been around prior to the pandemic. Self-service kiosks were already in-use at establishments like McDonald’s, Shake Shack, and Panera Bread.
In efforts to keep contact to a minimum, tabletop devices have also become increasingly popular. With these devices, restaurant-goers can be comfortably seated while making their orders and arranging payment with a kind of personalized kiosk.
Most famously, serving and bussing robots have been making waves on social media. These devices are not just a solution to labor shortages and a contactless way of service delivery, but they are also incredibly entertaining!
These robots seem like they are coming straight out of a science fiction movie, which is part of the gimmick. These robots also still have some bugs that will need to be worked out over the coming years, but their ongoing participation in the restaurant industry is certain.
Benefits of Automation Technology in Restaurants
It is clear that the benefits of automated technology in restaurants are numerous. These benefits include:
- Less contact means less potential virus transmission
- Less injury to humans due to hazards or repetitive movement injuries
- Less reliance on staffing during times of labor shortage
- Ease of delivery services
But not all automated technologies come in the form of robots. Some automated technologies like kiosks, DoorDash, and Tiphaus serve as technologies to make life easier for both restaurants and clients.
Tiphaus provides restaurant managers with an easier way of managing tip pools, producing payroll information, and reporting. Be sure to have all of the support possible to help with your restaurant business administration – for more information about Tiphaus, check out our website.