Rise of the Kitchen Robots: Catering Robot Pioneer – Sawanobori Tetsuya
Very nice documentary on kitchen robotics
In recent years, tough working conditions for often-modest pay have brought serious staff shortages for Japan’s food service sector, which faces annual staff turnover of almost 30%. Sawanobori Tetsuya runs a groundbreaking business working to address this issue with cutting-edge yet affordable robots designed to lighten workers’ load by taking care of food preparation, hygiene and even customer service. Follow a unique enterprise using robotics to revolutionize Japan’s catering sector.
Very nice writeup on the video on Medium how Japan tackles labor shortage
Japan is the leading force in the robotics market
Japanese industrial robot manufacturers accounted for over 56% of the global supply in 2017. Plus 90% of all electrical and mechanical robotic parts come from Japanese suppliers.
Overview of restaurant robots in Japan
Some Japanese startups are trying to bring robot technology into the hospitality and restaurant industry:
From The Spoon 2022
Five Food Robotics Predictions for 2022
- If there’s an area of dine-in restaurants impacted most by COVID, it’s the front of house. High turnover, social distancing and masking requirements have all put significant stress on staff who interface with consumers.
- Get ready for the restaurant in-a-box. There are a number of startups with robo-restaurant concepts already in fully operational pilot tests who are looking to expand with multiple self-contained robot restaurants in 2022.
- One could argue that – at least for a while – that Zume hit unicorn status as it hauled in wheelbarrows of Softbank cash for its robot meets pizza delivery concept. However, the company eventually hit troubled waters and has since pivoted to sustainable packaging.
- One of the biggest challenges for rolling out automation tech in high-volume restaurants is how to begin the process of integrating a new robot into a kitchen. Established restaurants have their workflows and processes, which means an operator can’t just drop a robot into a kitchen and expect to see instant results.
Read the full article
From The Spoon in 2019
We knew Dishcraft was working on a dishwashing robot, but until today, we didn’t know what it would look like. The company publicly unveiled its robot and I’ll be honest, it’s not what I was expecting.
Meant for high-volume eateries like cafeterias, there are two parts to the Dishcraft system. First, dirty dishes are dropped off and stacked vertically on a special cart. Once full, a human wheels the cart into the machine, which grabs each dish individually and inserts it into a rotating wheel. The wheel spins the dirty plate face down and into position where it’s sprayed with water and scrubbed clean in seconds. The scrubbed plate is then rotated again where cameras and computer vision software inspect it for any debris left on the plate before exiting the machine into a dishrack or going back in for another scrub. Check out this video of it in action: