What do you do when rising labor costs threaten your business? Hire a robot of course!
With labour costs in China rapidly rising, manufactures have turned to automation to combat productions costs. In doing so, they surpassed Japan last year as the world’s biggest buyer of industrial robots. This trend doesn’t seem limited to industry though, as a number of android-run restaurants have sprung up throughout the country.
In a small Kunshan restaurant, a member of the robot staff greets you at the door as you enter. Once your order is placed, a robot stir-fries your meat and vegetables to perfection, while another is dedicated to the task of making your dumplings. Once the food is done, it is then carried to your table by a mechanized waiter.
While humans load the ingredients into the androids for cooking, and assist in making some of the dishes, the vast majority is still automated by these robotic cooks. The robots themselves can understand up to 40 everyday phrases, and have the benefit of never getting sick or taking vacation. Costing around 40,000 yuan ($6,500), their cost is roughly equivalent to the annual salary of a human employee (in China). Better yet, they only need to be charged for two hours to do five hours worth of work. Without the robots needing to sleep, one could run a 24-hour restaurant with apparent ease.
Customer also seem to be excited by the phenomenon, and it’s proving to be quite popular with families whose children want to meet the robots. This does of course continue the trend of robots taking the work of humans, as these somewhat basic tasks become automated via robotics. Whether a robot is making you burgers or bringing you the morning paper, robots seem to be here to stay.