FACTS

    After China released the required regulations for food robots in June, Chinese property development group Country Garden has opened its first fully robot-staffed restaurant in the Shunde district in the Guangdong province on Monday. The restaurant is part of the Qianxi Robot Catering Group (Qianxi Group). Previously, robots have solely been used to greet or serve guests in restaurants, but at Qianxi they have taken over the position of chef and cook as well. The restaurant has over 200 menu items, 20 different types of robots, and can serve 600 guests at a time. Some foods can be prepared in as quickly as 20 seconds. The group plans to mass-produce 5000 robot units annually.

    “There is huge potential in this market, and we are dedicated to become a leader in this field.”

    Qiu Mi, Qianxi Group general manager

    FUTURE

    The Country Garden group announced that the restaurant was influenced by the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent need for less person-to-person contact. Similarly, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant chain recently opened in Moscow, Russia, what they have called the “restaurant of the future,” in which robots serve human-prepared food onto conveyor belts, and there is no customer interaction with human employees.

    It is said that robots will displace tens of millions of human workers by the year 2030. A study done by Oxford Economics predicted that “accelerating technological advances in automation, engineering, energy storage, artificial intelligence, and machine learning” will change the way the global market operates in the 2020 decade.

    In the UK, as they experience a drastic decrease of incoming seasonal workers due to the coronavirus, farmers are planning to use robots to pick fruits and vegetables.

    “Growers have an on-going challenge around the availability, cost of, and access to seasonal labour, exacerbated by Brexit and now Covid-19.”

    Ali Capper, chair of the NFU Horticulture and Potatoes Board
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