Serving guests without human contact – is this imaginable? Can robots take over this task? Would guests accept this? Maybe they would in certain situations, perhaps at particular times of the day, but entirely? Here are three insights into a world that is not a utopia any more. By Dieter Mailänder, mailander marketing
Are robots that produce pizzas, garnish hamburgers, make cappuccinos, or bring guests their menus to the table the future in the hospitality industry or perhaps even in large-scale catering establishments? Is our sector currently transforming from an emotional people business into a digitally controlled, soulless robotics business? For many operators, head chefs and their guests, such a development is beyond their imaginations. But is this far from any reality too?
Automation has been a topic for years (Frozen Food Europe has informed you several times) and has been pushed by those who wanted to lower their labor costs. Due to the corona pandemic, operators who would like to bring unmanned gastro systems online for different reasons, among others, because they have staffing problems, have also taken an interest in the subject. The lockdowns have knocked out all of the people businesses. Restaurants, bars, company restaurants, or student canteens have had to close, have lost their revenues temporarily and many employees, who have often migrated to other sectors, permanently. As of February 2021, for example fewer than 130,000 employees worked in this sector in Germany (-12% to the previous year). The effects are staff shortages, unfilled orders, and loss of customers. Other European countries are affected comparably. The European umbrella organization of the hospitality industry, Hotrec, writes in its annual report 2020-2021 that the sector counts 1.84 million fewer workers in comparison to the second quarter in 2019. A very significant part of the losses can be attributed to the pandemic.
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