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  • Writer's pictureAIYA Marketing

Delivery Robots in Catering Industry

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

The Challenges

The pandemic may be almost behind our heads, but its negative impacts still linger. Apart from the public health crisis, the socioeconomic landscapes of our society have also been hit hard.

The catering industry suffered some of the heaviest damage done compared to others. The inflation, the labor shortage, and the ever more demanding technology implementation, to name a few, all require restaurant owners to step up in their games. We may be covering some other aspects of the challenges that restaurant owners may face, but today we will focus more on the labor shortage problem.

A white page with "HELP WANTED" printed on it.
Businesses are struggling to find workers.

According to Business Insider, a record-setting number of people have been quitting their jobs in recent years. Amid this "Great Resignation", the food & accommodation industry saw some of the highest quit levels and quit rates even after almost all the restrictions on restaurants had been lifted. Labor shortages have become an outstanding problem for nearly all small to medium restaurant owners.

The Responses

A variety of methods were used to combat the crisis. Some restaurants choose to raise the menu price, some reduce operating hours, and some choose to close their business for good. Some capable owners may think raising benefits and wages is the answer. Yet, it is not the solution to this problem. On the one hand, more established chains like McDonald's and Starbucks can provide even better salaries and benefits, nudging potential candidates away from small restaurant owners. On the other hand, an increase in wages is a de facto operational cost rise that eventually has to be covered either by the owners or the customers.

The Answer

So, what can businesses do under these circumstances? Answer: Robots!

Two delivery bots working in a drink shop.
Delivery bots working in a drink shop.

More and more robotic solutions have been implemented throughout different restaurants globally. 90% of restaurants agreed that increased automation for back-of-house operations would allow staff to focus on more crucial tasks. And Research conducted by Square found that 62% of restaurants say that automation would fill critical gaps in managing orders placed online, at the restaurant, and via delivery apps. While dish-making robots are still mostly in the trial stage, dish-delivering robots have seen plenty of action in several restaurants across the USA. For example, the famous fast food chain Chili's has already been working with a robotic group, deploying food delivering robots Rita, in 10 locations. This pilot program was successful enough for the executives at Chili's agreed to expand Rita's development to additional 51 Chili's branches across the country.

Interested in Robot Solutions?

The Benefits

What are the benefits of using robots in your restaurant? Multiple stories show that adding robots is a triple-win situation for the customer, restaurant staff, and the business owner.

1. An Overall Better Dining Experience

For customers, robot servers are both exciting, and reassuring and provide an overall better dining experience. According to a Las Vegas restaurant owner, "people get a kick out of it", describing the server robot as an "eye-catcher" especially appealing to the younger population. 77% of customers who have encountered the Chili's Rita program reported that human attendants spent more time with them, and about eight out of ten customers claim they had a better dining experience, thanks to Rita.

2. Reduce Servers’ Workload

For staff, it is generally accepted that since robots take over some of the most repetitive and time-consuming tasks, human waiters can be freed to attend to guests with better service. Available data suggest that robots do take some burdens off their shoulders. According to Chili's executives, his employees "responded positively" towards Rita, their choice of food runner robot.

3. Cost-saving

For restaurant owners, robot servers also mean considerable savings on labor costs. According to a Dallas restaurant owner, a robot server costs him around $8 to $10 a day while a human server usually takes the same amount per hour.


Introducing our solution to the current labor shortage problem, a robot called Bella!

A Nimble Cat

Bella can be programmed to learn the restaurant's layout and carry food items on four trays on her back. Using a multitude of 3D sensory technologies, Bella can be efficient while prioritizing safety. Bella can maneuver swiftly across the restaurant floor (however narrow they can be) like a cat and stop almost instantaneously if she detects anything or anyone is in her way.

With a bionic front that resembles the appearance of a cat, Bella can perform a variety of lovely interactions with customers. She likes being pet on the head, but not so much on her ears. With a dozen of Kaomoji responses (a.k.a. Japanese Emoticons), Bella's cute reactions surely can win some customers' hearts! And maybe win some more customers for the restaurant if they tell others about how cute Bella is.

A Reliable Workhorse

However, don't let her cute appearance trick you! Unlike most cats, Bella is highly efficient and reliable. In terms of efficiency, Bella can carry up to four trays of dishes each weighing up to 10 kilograms (22 pounds each, 88 pounds in total) on her back. That's about twice as much as a human server can deliver at once. In the span of a day, Bella can deliver a whopping 400 dishes in total. As for reliability, Bella doesn't need breaks and can run for long hours. Bella also has a replaceable battery, letting Bella go all day while charging can be done independently.

Bella is quite versatile as well. Although Bella is most commonly used as a food runner, other options are available too! She can be set to cruise mode carrying supplies like utensils and napkins, stopping by to help any customer in need. Did we mention that Bella can also sing Happy Birthday?

Overall, Bella is a trustworthy, efficient, and adorable robot. In addition to the traits above, our Bella solution plan only costs about a quarter of a human server's monthly salary, helping restaurant owners cut costs while improving operational efficiency. Contact us if you want more information about our Bella solution plan!

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