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Robot barmen and delivery drones

Updated: Apr 19, 2021

How tech is changing the culinary world

How would you like to try a cocktail that’s been mixed by a robot? Or a dish that’s been

recommended by an AI assistant?

The restaurant industry has always buzzed with creativity and transformation, and now a

new dawn of advanced technology looks set to change the way we eat out forever. New

technology in the foodservice industry is transforming our restaurant experience, how we

enjoy takeaways and even how the kitchen is run.

Think robot staff, kitchen automation, and drone delivery. There is a whole wealth of new

inventions causing excitement for the high-tech foodie scenes of the future. Let’s take a

look and what we can expect very soon.

Restaurant artificial intelligence

Once seen as ultra-futuristic and inaccessible, artificial intelligence (AI) has recently taken

on many new applications, including several in the restaurant industry. AI can help

restaurant owners do everything from forecasting sales to managing staff and improving

marketing efforts.

As AI-driven apps, software, and other technologies become more accessible, they have

the potential to help restaurants save money, increase efficiency, and provide better

experiences for their guests. Here are just a few ways restaurants are already using

artificial intelligence to improve their businesses.

• Virtual assistants for customer questions and orders

• Recommendations to help customers order based on their preferences

• Automation of making and serving food

• Automating management of staff schedules and payment

• Better insights on client motivations and purchasing decisions

• Automation of inventory tracking

This digital boom in the restaurant world provides something for everyone, with

innovations to excite restaurant owners and their guests. With smoother, more efficient

restaurant operations, and fun experiences like robots that serve cocktails, what’s not to


Robot staff

During a trip on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, guests can request drinks from a special

kind of bartender. The Bionic Bar features two robot waiters who mix your favourite

cocktails through the power of AI. They know how to shake, pour and serve classic

recipes and they even take special requests.

One pop-up café in Tokyo found another incredible way of using robot staff. They ran a

trial where OriHime-D robots served coffee to guests in a cafe. These robots were

powered remotely by people with paralysis or other disabilities, working well even if

operators needed to control them with their eyes. As paralysed individuals often face

employment challenges, this was a creative way to use new technology to offer work and

exciting new experiences for cafe guests. As the café saw high praise, the creators hope

to open it permanently in the future.

Kitchen automation

Technology is making its way into the kitchen as well. Restaurants like Spyce in Boston

are automating the entire cooking process with a fully robotic kitchen that can whip up

delicious meals in three minutes or less. Innovations like these speed up the entire

the cooking process, making restaurant operations more efficient and impressive with cutting-

edge technology.

Chains like British brand Costa Coffee are embracing robotic staff as well, with a new

BaristaBot called Briggo can brew speciality coffee. It is a fully self-operating system

that puts customers in control of their coffee experience, with a sustainable footprint that

fits anywhere from businesses to hospitals and airports.

Delivery drones

Delivery services have taken off during the pandemic, and it seems that even more

innovation is on the way. Companies are inspired by the potential for drone delivery food,

and a business called Flirtey has already begun testing out the idea. In 2015, the company

completed the first-ever drone delivery, carrying medical supplies to a Virginia clinic. In

2016, the company dipped its toes into the food industry, delivering Domino’s Pizza in New

Zealand. These achievements show that drone delivery will likely grow in popularity in the


Omnichannel restaurants

Imagine walking past a restaurant and receiving a message on your phone letting you

know about the dish of the day or the latest special offer. You’d be more likely to go in,

right? These sorts of push notifications are just some of the ways foodservice technology

is advancing to help restaurants sell more. Foodie businesses are now building branded

apps that create immersive digital experiences for their customers online. They can stay

connected and provide personalised experiences with technology that adapts to each

customer’s preferences. Think touchscreen menus that are interactive, music options in an

app to accompany your takeaway, or even augmented reality versions of cakes to try

before you buy at New York’s Magnolia Bakery.


There are so many exciting ways the restaurant business is whisking us into the future.

Soon it could be normal to order your food entirely by app, have it made by a robot and

delivered by a drone. For now, we like our restaurants with people in, but with a few

technology tricks to make our experience even more enjoyable and tailored to our tastes.

Barcelona’s Terminal 42 brings you the digital foodie magazine Tu Mordisco. We’re a

restaurant offering signature cuisine inspired by international recipes and local ingredients.

Stay up to date on our culinary innovations, and order our delicious dishes to eat in the

comfort of your home.

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