Adoption of service robots and automation technologies in APAC foodservice accelerates due to COVID-19, says GlobalData

COVID-19 pandemic and its prolonged impact have led to the fast-tracking of robotics and automation technologies’ implementation in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) foodservice sector. These automated platforms can complement human efforts, and thereby elevate the labor productivity, service efficiency, profitability, and overall consumer experience. The APAC has become the global hub for such automated platforms due to its high consumer acceptance for advanced technologies and services, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

This reflects in GlobalData’s Q1 2021 survey finding, wherein *40% of the APAC respondents affirm that their choice of product/service are often or always influenced by how digitally advanced/’smart’ the product/service is.

Bobby Verghese, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Service robots can automate danger-prone, energy-intensive, and repetitive functions round-the-clock, thereby allowing Hotels/Restaurants/Catering (HoReCa) operators to reallocate human workers to more qualitative, value-added tasks. Also, the droids can minimize human-human and human-food physical contact — a key consumer requirement amid the pandemic.

“Service robots can help foodservice operators in offsetting worker shortfalls in scenarios such as the pandemic lockdowns. The APAC markets such as Japan, South Korea, and Singapore are the early adopters of foodservice automation due to their shrinking workforce and a rapidly-aging populace.”

For instance, Grab, a leading food-tech startup, commissioned service robots from Keenon Robotics at its Hill View outlet in Singapore in September 2021 to ferry food from the cloud kitchens to diners at the food court and delivery riders waiting outside, and ferry the dirty dishes back to the kitchen. The Tung Lok Group has also commissioned Keenon’s robot servers at its restaurants in China, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam. Similarly, ‘Root C, a robot barista installed at Tokyo’s Shimbashi train station in October 2021, allows passengers to pre-order hot drinks during the journey and pick it up on arrival at the station.

Verghese concludes: “Owing to such high efficiency, productivity, hygiene and safety attributes, the adoption of such advanced technologies is poised to surge, particularly among cloud kitchens mushrooming across the region. Service robots and kitchen automation can play a pivotal role in the APAC foodservice sector’s recovery from the pandemic crisis.”

*Data taken from GlobalData Q1 2021 Consumer Survey – Asia Pacific (March 2021) with 6,244 respondents

More Media