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What will restaurants look like in the future? How would dinner taste if a robot cooked it? A robot restaurant in China's harbour city of Tianjin may provide the answers.
Covering an area of over 400 sq m with a total of 112 seats, the X Future Restaurant is a robo-restaurant launched late last year by JD.com, China's second largest e-commerce behemoth. The restaurant has amazed customers with its fully-automated technology, which covers every step of the dining experience from ordering to cooking to serving the dishes and even taking payment.
People can order dishes by simply scanning the QR codes on the tables. Over 40 options are available, covering eight major culinary schools of China. After taking the order, "robot chefs" prepare dishes using standardised time, temperature and ingredients designed by famous Chinese chefs.
"As the cooking process is pre-set and controlled by a computer system, the flavour and quality of dishes can be guaranteed," Li Xiaokui, Director of Operation from X Future Restaurant, told People's Daily Online.
Robots also deliver dishes. Without following any track or pre-set route, the robot waiters serve meals thanks to automated driving technology and SLAM (Simultaneous Localisation And Mapping) technology, which enables each robot to adjust its route when encountering obstacles.
As well as a pleasant dining experience, the restaurant also provides interactive VR games and an immersive projection dining room.
These eye-catching technologies have received wide praise from customers: "The dishes taste surprisingly good. I couldn't believe they were made by robots, especially dishes that required complicated processes," one customer said.
"I'm very impressed by these new technologies, which I've never seen in my country. The robots can cook, deliver foods and even play with kids. It is an amazing dining experience," a Ukrainian customer told the reporter.
The robots have potential to cater to increasing demand. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China's catering industry witnessed a record high in revenue, hitting 4.27 trillion yuan (US$618 billion) in 2018.
However, a large number of traditional restaurants are facing issues relating to high rent, high labour cost and low profit. In this sense, robotised restaurants powered by automated technology may be a future trend.
"The application of robots has effectively increased our efficiency and cut back our labour costs," says Li. " A robot can work more than 10 hours a day without a break, which could be an arduous task for humans."
He says more simple human jobs are expected to be replaced by robots in the future.
"I'm optimistic about the future of robot restaurants. It is an inevitable trend and has large scope for development."
Content sourced from the People's Daily Online here