The Foodservice Robotics Trend in Restaurants and Commercial Kitchens

Robotics isn’t usually the first thing to come to mind when thinking about the foodservice industry. However, in the last few years, robotics and automation have made their way into restaurants and commercial kitchens, making service delivery more efficient and reducing the stresses put on staffing.

As we’ve seen, the pandemic caused extensive labor shortages, with the hospitality industry one of the hardest hit. With many restaurants short-staffed, owners and operators are looking for any way to assist with some of the day-to-day operations. For example, robotics can help front-of-the-house staff deliver drinks and food and help the back-of-the-house with repetitive prep work or cooking.

The technology of robotics in food service has skyrocketed since 2020, increasing efficiency, eliminating human error, reducing labor expenses, and doing the somewhat repetitive work of kitchen prep. Even before the pandemic, YUM Brands CEO Greg Creed mentioned that robotic technology could replace humans in the food service industry by the mid-2020s. Whether that happens or not is still up in the air, but the foodservice robotics trend does not appear to be a fad.

Streamlining the kitchen process and improving safety and efficiency is every restaurant manager’s mission. With the labor shortages and high employee turnover, many foodservice facilities are turning to automation in the kitchen. For example, FryBot automates the frying process, so food has a consistent quality while also lessening cook times and minimizing waste.

FryBot has an articulating arm that moves an empty basket under a dispenser to collect frozen food items and then places the basket in the fryer. Then, the robotic arm lifts the fried items from the oil when the perfect temperature is reached, and the perfectly crispy items are then placed into a holding area. All of this without a kitchen employee!

Not only does kitchen automation improve customer satisfaction, but it increases employee safety. With fewer burns or injuries, the food service establishment’s liability is significantly reduced.

Another automated kitchen appliance is the ROV (reduced oil volume) gas fryer. The oil is replenished faster than it can deteriorate, leading to longer oil life. In addition, with the automatic filtration and oil top-off, restaurant owners will see a decrease in oil costs, saving up to 50% on oil.

Kitchen safety is an obvious benefit of the ROV gas fryer, as it can be dangerous to handle used oil. So, because oil lasts longer, the kitchen employees spend less time managing it. In addition, there are fewer required deliveries and waste pickups.

So, not only is it efficient, cost-effective, and safer, but it’s also energy-star certified.

Many kitchen employees will “hold” their fried food right after cooking, but that can lead to overcooked and soggy items. A countertop food warmer can keep fried menu items fresh and crispy for up to twice as long. The Crisp N’ Hold cools the fried foods using active air circulation, reducing moisture loss and stopping the cooking process. By lowering the temperature and stopping the cooking process, fried items remain crispy for an extended period.

The automated Crisp N’ Hold will increase customer satisfaction while reducing food complaints and food waste.

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Topics: Foods & Trends, Filtration, Automation