The fact that automation and robotics are widely used in food & beverage is there for all to see. The many new experiments and ideas that are much talked about now include Robot.he, a restaurant in Shanghai owned by the Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba, where eating fish is a highly interactive experience. “Physical stores serve an indispensable role during the consumer journey and should be enhanced through data-driven technology and personalized services in the digital economy” says Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba.
How does Robot.he work? Diners can choose the menu and send it directly to the kitchen, where human chefs take care of preparing it. From this moment onwards, customers’ smartphones are the only instrument with which they can give inputs to the robots, each of which is programmed to carry out a specific task. After choosing a table with the App, diners are greeted at the restaurant by a human waiter who shows them to their table, from which they can change the menu from their mobile, choosing fish dishes and giving instructions on how they’d like them cooked. When the dish is ready in the kitchen, it is served directly by robots!
A map on each table shows in real time the location of each robot-shuttle serving customers and can be used to choose drinks and pay the bill.
The project, which has been welcomed by customers, will soon be extended to other points of sale in the country where robot waiters will entertain new curious customers.
It is not by chance that this special restaurant has opened in the Hema supermarket in Shanghai, an example of great sophistication in the retail sector: customers use an App to scan barcodes and obtain information about products or recipe ideas, can pay via online platforms or even by scanning their faces at kiosks!
We are talking about a technology that has been on the market for some time: indeed, at 255 HEC srl we have already developed customised handling systems. What is new in this case is the decision to apply this technology in an unusual environment such as a restaurant. A remarkable marketing idea that intrigues and prompts suppliers to find new solutions in new sectors.