San Francisco closes restaurants that use robots instead of employees. Perhaps this is due to the fact that consumers still want to be served by people, not cars, writes Business Insider.
San Francisco shuts down robotic-service restaurants, writes Business Insider. Just last week, CafeX coffee shop chain closed outlets. She developed fully automated stations in which coffee was prepared and served by a robotic arm. The investor of CafeX was the American billionaire Peter Thiel (No. 363 in the ranking of 400 richest Americans, a fortune of $ 2.3 billion). Now such stations remained only at the airports of San Francisco and San Jose.
In July 2019, Eatsa establishments began to close – automated stations where robots prepared bowls from quinoa. This network has problems paying rent, writes BI. The company was renamed Brightloom and changed the focus of the business – it decided to focus on the development of technology and software for restaurants.
Zume startup, which used robots to make pizza, also left the restaurant business. The company, among the investors of which the Grishin Robotics fund by Dmitry Grishin and the Japanese SoftBank, since November 2019 has been producing equipment for the food industry instead of pizza. According to BI and Bloomberg, in January, the company decided to cut about 400 employees to further cut costs.
According to Business Insider, San Francisco was the “ideal market” for testing technology in restaurants. Using robots allowed us to solve the problem of the shortage of low-paid personnel and at the same time helped local startups test technologies that seemed promising, the publication notes. Automation was designed to shift routine and hard work to robots, reduce business costs for labor, and lower menu prices.
So far, the robotic burger Creator, which opened in mid-2018 and received investment from Alphabet, continues to enjoy popularity. Creator employs not only robots, but also people. According to BI, the reasons for the closure of robotic restaurants can be very different, but perhaps the direct explanation is that consumers are simply not ready to be fully serviced by robots, not people.