I found a food delivery robot at a nearby family restaurant

The moment when you feel the near future in your daily life. It may be when you encounter a robot. We are finally in an age when we can witness robots working together with people in restaurants. Children are excited! Where are the restaurants in Kyoto and its suburbs where catering robots bring meals to customers? Here is a summary of the latest information on catering robots in Kyoto.

Huh? What's with the cat robot?

Cat robot brings it to you?

The waitress guides me to the table I came to. I immediately look inside the restaurant and see a robot moving silently across the floor! It is apparently not a person bringing dishes from the kitchen aisle. On the table where I sat, there is a sign that says, "A kitty robot may bring your food. Now, will it be brought by a person or a cat robot! There must be many customers waiting for their food with a sense of excitement. The two cat robots came out of the kitchen, somewhat proudly, as members of the staff, while making the structure of the restaurant well known. Now, at last, they are coming toward your table.

Identity of the cat robot

Robot BellaBot is a Chinese-made food-delivery robot with a cat motif. It is long and vertical, and has a space on the back side of the machine for placing dishes. The face of the cat is displayed on the upper panel, and in addition to serving meals and avoiding obstacles, the robot can serve customers with rich facial expressions and AI (artificial intelligence) voice.

Catering robot with various expressions

The robotization of "customer service," which I had somehow thought was a scene from the near future. In fact, it had already begun at a nearby family restaurant. The display was a cat's face, and a cheerful voice brought us our food, saying, "Please enjoy your meal. In addition, when you pet the cat's ear area, it purred "happy meow," and when passing by people, it changed its voice to a mode of "meow for you to let me pass. When there is no need for it, the face of a sleeping cat is displayed, and when the battery runs out, it purrs repeatedly, "Charge meow. The way it changes its expression is quite adorable. Kids love this cat-shaped robot, so they can spend their waiting time

Human and Convenient Catering Robot

This cat-shaped robot has been introduced by the SUKAIRAKU Group at its chain restaurants nationwide. They can be seen at Gusto, Shabuyo, Juju Karubi, and Bamiyan in Kyoto City. In addition to cat-type robots, commercial catering robots are also beginning to be introduced one after another in areas such as hotel restaurants, cafes, golf courses, and nursing care and welfare facilities.

Catering robot at Fukusuke Nishijin

Cat-shaped catering robots are receiving love calls, especially from restaurants, as a good model for reducing labor costs and providing contactless service for the Corona disaster. It is surprising, however, that the robotization of "customer service," which I had thought was somewhat of a near-future scene, began at a nearby family restaurant.

Restaurants where catering robots can be seen near Kyoto, Japan

Gusto Kyoto Shijo Omiya
Gusto Kyoto Marutamachi
Gusto Kyoto Nishikyogoku
Gusto Kyoto Katsura
Gusto Kyoto Jujo-dori
Juju Karubi Gojo Takakura
Juju Karubi Katsura Minami
Shabuyo Restaurant Kyoto Muko
Shabuyo Kyoto Rakunan
Bamiyan AEON MALL Kyoto Gojo
Bamiyan Kyoto Shinhorikawa
Cat-shaped food-delivery robot (centered on the Sukairaku Group)
Yakiniku Yariki Nishioji Gojo
Yakiniku Kingu Kyoto Katsura
Yakiniku Kingu Kyoto Yokooji, Route 1
Yakiniku Kingu Kyoto Momoyama
Fukusuke Nishijin Store Next to Asunee
Ganko Food Service Oyashiki, Takasegawa Nijoen (only for business use on the floor) 
Grand Maison Geihinkan Kyoto Arashiyama, a residence for the elderly (restaurant portion)
Catering robots (chain restaurants, individual restaurants, institutions, etc.)
Cocos, Kappa Sushi, Garlic Genkotsu Ramen Kagetsu Arashi, Watami, Saizeriya, Denny's, Korakuen, etc.
National chain stores in other prefectures

Will Catering Robots Take Away Human Labor?

On this day, the only time I actually engaged in conversation with a waiter was when I entered the restaurant and paid the bill. Since customers receive their own plates and place them on the table, it is fair to say that there is virtually no human interaction in the restaurant. We are accustomed to the mechanization of cash registers in supermarkets and other places, and we are becoming even more familiar with robots and artificial intelligence in the field of restaurants where conversation is required.

Of course, we don't just have serving robots, we also have people delivering the food! This was emphasized by a staff member at Yakiniku Yariki Yariki's Nishioji Gojo branch. As one of the staff members at Yakiniku Yoriki's Nishioji Gojo branch emphasized, "Of course, it's not just serving robots that deliver the food, but people as well! Customer service that only people can provide is becoming increasingly important.

Q: How do you feel about using the robot?

A:After the robot was introduced, employees spent less time carrying food, which allowed them to spend more time replenishing ingredients and cleaning the food corners, and more time talking with customers, which led to enhanced service.

In narrow places, the two robots automatically avoid each other and proceed.

Because it is an all-you-can-eat restaurant, customers often walk through the restaurant, but if a customer is present, the restaurant automatically stops so they do not bump into people or objects.

By having the two robots work together, when one robot goes to serve the food, the other, which has been waiting, will automatically return to the place where the meat will be placed.

Q: Have there been any improvements since the robot was introduced?

A:Of course we can provide services other than serving food, such as improving the cooking corner and making it clean, but we can communicate a lot with our customers in the time the robot spent bringing food instead of us.

We are now able to ask customers what they thought of today's meal and what they need, which we could not ask before, and our employees are able to see a lot more of our customers. We have also started to receive many compliments from customers, such as "It was delicious today," and "Thank you.

Q: What about customer reactions and feedback?

A: I explain Bella-chan the robot to customers when I show them around, and I often hear customers say how great and cute she is, and that we live in such an era already.

The robot is very popular with children, and when Bella-chan arrives at their table, they pat her head and experience the cuteness of the robot. We have also had many occasions when small children have come to the store to meet the cat robot, and they say, "Oh, there's Bella! It's Bella! when they see Bella-chan at the entrance of the store.

Bella has a birthday mode, and at Shabu-ha, Bella brings a cake to customers who have made reservations in advance for their birthday while playing "Happy Birthday" music on the day of the birthday celebration. This has been well received by our customers.

(Company press release excerpt)

Some years ago, Pepper, a customer service robot, became a hot topic at Hamazushi, a conveyor-belt sushi restaurant, for reception and seat guidance. However, it did not go so well until it became commonplace. But with the recent introduction of a cat-shaped food delivery robot by Sukayuraku, the robotization of customer service is accelerating at a rapid pace. The day may soon come when robots will be bringing meals to all kinds of restaurants near you!



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A U-turn girl who was supposed to immigrate to Canada. She continues to search for the excitement of her hometown. She does her laundry at the laundromat every day. Her weakness is that she is not good at reading the atmosphere and hates housework.
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