In the heart capital city of South Korea, which is Seoul, a distinct burger shop is optimizing its unique services for its customers, as it features a twist that will create a vast difference for every typical fast food and restaurant dining experience. It features its key staff in the presence of robots. You have read that right, ROBOTS!
Beginning with the process of taking the customer’s order, up to the juncture of picking it up, a single face-to-face interaction is deemed necessary. The customer is prepped only to do everything in just a click and swipe of their own fingertips. The menu can be viewed and clicked directly on the kiosk touchscreen. The payment process is also highly technological, as it prompts you to wait for an assigned serving robot that will specifically bring their individual takeout bag down to the directed pick-up spot.
While at the peak of waiting for their sumptuous food, the burger shop’s customers are given the ample opportunity to take some exquisite photos with the key staff robots or also, opt on staring with utmost curiosity at the capsulized shaped robots that are a great depiction of the popular minion characters as popularized in the animated film: “Despicable Me”. The accentuated black and yellow colors of the No Brand Burger Restaurant also set the mood for its customers to look for a toy shop.
According to Shin Hyun Soo, a 31- year old office worker, who came to the restaurant to try out the one of a kind featured service that it offers, she exclaimed: “This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun to look at and use.”
In addition, the restaurant’s human resource manager, in the person of Bae Eunyoung, explained completely the process of using the robot key staff by saying in complete description that: “The customer orders at the kiosk preliminarily. When the order is already placed, it is automatically sent to the kitchen. Inside the kitchen, a view of an automated cooking machine is seen, kicks in and heats the buns and patties tremendously.”
Bae continued to explain with emphasis that the human staff has a pivotal role to play which is to add up the essential toppings over the cooked ingredients, before wrapping them up and passing it eventually over to a key staff robot to serve the ordered dish of the customer.
As a precaution, Bae explained that the customer cannot take the food without any contact with the staff of the burger shop. The innovation performed by the restaurant served as a relative selling point amidst the on-going coronavirus pandemic together with its specific restrictions.
Beforehand, as the restrictions were eased last Monday, when this article was written, South Korean restaurants had to undergo the permission of providing deliveries and takeout meals only after 9 p.m., alongside with franchised coffee shops, like Starbucks for example which provides takeout drinks only.
The new number of reported coronavirus cases in South Korea has almost reached a doubling number from 56 to 103 over two days in a row during mid-August of this year, and continued to strike until it reached a high peak of 441 daily cases, specifically on August 26. Because of this, the resurgence has continuously slowed down but it continues to climb by at least 100 on a per day basis.
During the month of August, takeout orders were accounted to have reached 58% of No Brand Burger’s total sales, which had an increase of 16% from July, in accordance to Shinsegae Food, which is the South Korean food company that operates largely the No Brand Burger Shop.
On the contrary, the No Brand Burger Shop is conveniently not the only local restaurant that uses robots as its key staff in serving customers. The major IT Company of South Korea which is KT has built a partnership with the family restaurant chain Mad for Garlic, in order to provide its Al serving robots, respectively.
The use of the 3D space mapping and other relative technology has contributed to the free movement of the robot, through the narrow lanes that are in between tables, thus, it also avoids obstacles when it thrives to reach its destination. This is in accordance to Lee Youngjin’s explanation, who is respectively the team leader of Al Platform Business Team at KT. In support of his explanation, the robots have the ability to individually serve up to four tables per trip.
In relevance to this highly innovative invention, Lee Young-ho, who is the manager of one Mad for Garlic restaurant takes pride in the use of the robots saying: “Children customers often like to see the robot. Also, customers in general feel it is fresher to receive their food through the robot because of the coronavirus global pandemic”
In conclusion, these Al robots are a great help at this time of the pandemic, wherein contactless transactions are essential in the prevention of the virus’ wider transmission in South Korea as a whole.