An Asian restaurant chain is set to open its newest concept — replacing chefs and waiters with robots — Sunday in Beijing.
Haidilao International Holding Ltd.’s hotpot restaurants partnered with Japan's Panasonic Corp. to create what the companies have pegged as the world's first fully automated kitchen, Bloomberg reported.
The robots will reduce labor expenses while boosting efficiency for the joint venture called Ying Hai Holding Pte., which has plans to open up to 5,000 restaurants across the globe.
"It could be difficult to expand to that size in terms of personnel, so Haidilao is shifting earlier to an operation that doesn’t rely so much on manual labor,” Jun Yamashita, managing director of Ying Hai Holding Pte, told Bloomberg. “That’s where Panasonic’s technology comes in.”
Panasonic is the battery supplier for Tesla's electric cars.
What's the story?
Haidilao's chairman, billionaire Zhang Yong, started the restaurant chain 24 years ago, which he said seemed "centuries" behind the times.
He's using the latest technology to create restaurants that are expected to run more efficiently than traditional concepts.
“Haidilao is not just a restaurant. We’re also a company that also does manufacturing and logistics,” Zhang said on Thursday in Tokyo, Bloomberg reported. “Before the food is brought to the table, it’s all a manufacturing process. After that, the service aspect takes over.”
How does it work?
Robots will take the orders from customers and then prepare the ingredients for the meal. Raw meats and vegetables will be delivered by robots to the customers to add to their soups, which are prepared at their table.
Haidilao's new restaurant will expand first in China before opening restaurants internationally.