A restaurant operated completely by robots has opened in a bid to prevent transmission of the coronavirus between customers.
Country Garden, a Chinese property developer, shared that its robot catering group – Qianxi Group – had opened a restaurant in the city of Shunde, southern China, that does not employ people.
A spokesman for the organisation said: “Country Garden assistant executive officer and Qianxi Group general manager Qiu Mi that Qianxi Group has built a complete industry chain encompassing back-end supply production (the centralised kitchens) and robotic cooking alongside the operation of the restaurants and the management of robots.”
The company’s restaurant “employs” 20 robots, which are designed to serve several dishes – including Chinese cuisine, fast food, clay-pot rice and a hot pot.
Customers who want to dig into a robot-cooked meal can find a menu with 200 items with many being available to eat within 20 seconds of ordering.
The 21,527 square feet restaurant can also handle 600 diners at once.
Previously, restaurants that used robots to greet diners or deliver their food to the table – yet relied on people to cook the food.
Now, robots have taken over all roles in the food production and preparation stages, making it independent of human staff.
A Country Garden spokesman continued: “China officially released the technical specification for robot safety certification in the food sector on June 22.
“The technical specification, jointly formulated by the National Robot Testing and Accreditation Centre (NRTAC) and Qianxi Group’s technology subsidiary Zhiyuan, is the first of its kind in the country.
“Qianxi Group’s lineup of second-generation robots, including some trained to cook clay pot rice and others trained to make mini-ice creams, have taken the lead in receiving China Robot certifications from the NRTAC.”
According to company bosses, part of the motivation to move towards opening the restaurant operated by robots was due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, farmers who supply restaurants with food are also eying up robot tech to help them pick fruit and veg at certain times of the year.
It is hoped the technology will be able to be used to fill worker shortages and pick soft fruit and vegetables, such as strawberries, lettuce and blueberries.
Farmers hope the tech will be rolled out and be fully operational for the 2021 picking season.
The effort to fill the gap in workers is being developed by the University of Lincoln, Agri-EPI Centre, the Manufacturing Technology Centre and Knowledge Transfer Network, which is also backed by more than 100 food producers.