People Don’t Want The Waiter Job So Robots Need To Step In
Harin - Sep 24, 2019
Catering robots have become an appealing option for restaurant owners in China who are having a hard time finding workers.
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Two years ago, Bao Xianggyi dropped out of school and became a waiter at a restaurant for half a year to make a living. And this 19-year-old guy still remembers that time.
He said working in some restaurants in China was hard. Sometimes, his steps number even 20,000 in just a day.
And this is what made him quit his waiter job and go back to school. At the moment, he is a student at a university in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.
He couldn't continue doing the same job for 365 days a year.
A 23-year-old Hong Kong resident, Olivia Niu is another typical example. She quit her job after just a few days working, sharing during peak mealtime, the restaurant became too busy. She couldn't eat since she needed to serve the customers.
Becoming a waiter has never been the top career option; however, it still remains as a big source of employment. A waitress at Lanlifang hotel in Wenshou, Yang Chunyan, is a mother of two and says that she chose this job since she needs to earn a living and support her family.
Today’s young generation in China has a greater vision and a broader knowledge. Among those who were born after 2000, around 24.5% want to have a career in the field of art and literature. The second place belongs to education while the IT industry takes the third place, as stated in a recent report from China Youth Daily and Tencent QQ.
This makes restaurants in China are having difficulties in finding table staff. And even when they have successfully hired a number of employees, not many of them can handle the daily pressure with hundreds of orders. Therefore, the most practical choice would be using robots.
Shenzhen Pudu Technology, a 30year-old startup from Shenzen is among those technology firms that are offering robots to thousands of restaurant owners who have been trying to deal with a labor shortfall.
The company helps restaurants deal with this problem with advanced technology like artificial intelligence, online ordering systems, and machines. Its robots have been deployed in China, Korea, Singapore, and Germany.
Kitchen staff can put meals on Pudu Technology’s robot, then enter the table’s number and the food will be delivered to the waiting customers.
According to statistics, on average, a human waiter can only serve around 200 orders daily while the robots are much more productive as they can handle 300 to 400 orders per day.
For a long time, restaurant owners in China have been dealing with a labor shortage. But that’s not going to be a problem anymore when these robots can operate for up to 10 years and cost from ₹400.
With some quick calculation, the amount of money that restaurant owners have to pay for a robot is even less than the average annual salary paid to human restaurant and hotel staff in the southern provinces of China. For example, in Guangdong, the base salary for waiters here is around ₹600,000.
Therefore, it is not surprising that many restaurants opt for using catering robots.
Verified Market Research reported that the global robotics services market had a value of $11,62 billion in 2018 and is expected to hit $35,67 by 2026.
In 2018, Haidilao – China’s famous hotpot restaurant chain, has not only used service robots but also launched a smart restaurant equipped with a mechanized kitchen in the capital. And in Shenzhen, China’s tech hub, if you don’t have an app, it will be difficult to pay for your bills as most restaurants have an online order service.
In recent years, the labor force advantage of the country has also shrunk. Since 2012, the working-age population, those who are between 16 to 59, has dropped by 40 million to 897 million, which made up for 64 percent of the 1.4 billion population of China.
Those of working age made up for 69% of the country’s total population in 2012.
Other robotic companies in China are also joining the market. A hi-tech listed enterprise from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, SIASUN Robot & Automation Co, started introduced its catering robots to restaurants in the country in 2017.
Keenon Robotics Co, a company from Shanghai, started introduced its delivery robots in China as well as overseas markets like the US, Spain, and Italy.
Zhang Zhang Tao, founder, and CEO of Pudu Technolgy is negotiating with venture capital firms for a new funding round, which is expected to be announced as early as October 2019. Last year, Pudu Technology successfully raised around $8.5 million in an investment round which was led by QC capital from Shenzhen.