An automated restaurant or robotic restaurant is a restaurant that uses robots to do tasks such as delivering food and drink to the tables and/or cooking the food.


This section needs expansion with: details of technology used, designers, manufacturers, etc. You can help by adding to it. (May 2014)

Restaurant automation means the use of a restaurant management system to automate the major operations of a restaurant establishment. When discussing commercial restaurant automation, it is hard not to mention Yoshiaki Shiraishi. This Japanese innovator is known for the creation of conveyor belt sushi. He conjured up the idea due to difficulty staffing his small sushi restaurant and managing the restaurant on his own. He got the idea to use conveyor belt technology in sushi after seeing beer bottles on a conveyor belt in an Asahi brewery.[1] Yoshiaki's restaurants are an extremely early example of restaurant automation; they used a conveyor belt to distribute dishes around the restaurant, eliminating the need for waiters. This example of automation dates back to the Japanese economic miracle; the first of Yoshiaki's conveyor belt sushi restaurants was opened under the name Mawaru Genroku Sushi in 1958, in Osaka.[2]

In the early 1970s a number of restaurants served food solely through vending machines. These restaurants were called automats or, in Japan, shokkenki. Customers ordered their food directly through the machines.

As of 2011, across Europe, McDonald's had already begun implementing 7,000 touch screen kiosks that could handle cashiering duties.[3]

More recently, restaurants are opening that have completely or partially automated their services. These may include: taking orders, preparing food, serving, and billing. A few fully automated restaurants operate without any human intervention whatsoever. Robots are designed to help and sometimes replace human labour (such as waiters and chefs). The automation of restaurants may also allow for the option for greater customization of an order.[4]

In 2020, a restaurant in the Netherlands began trialling the use of a robot to serve guests.[5][6]

In September 2021, Karakuri’s 'Semblr' food service robot served personalised lunches for the 4,000 employees of grocery technology solutions provider ocado Group's head offices in Hatfield, UK. 2,700 different combinations of dishes were on offer. Customers could specify in grams what hot and cold items, proteins, sauces and fresh toppings they wanted.[7]

In 2021, Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science engineers developed a method of cooking 3D printed chicken with software-controlled robotic lasers. The “Digital Food” team exposed raw 3D printed chicken structures to both blue and infrared light. They then assessed the cooking depth, colour development, moisture retention and flavour differences of the laser-cooked 3D printed samples in comparison to stove-cooked meat.[8]

In June 2022 a California nonprofit chain of residential communities, Front Porch, experimented with robots in dining rooms at two locations to supplement wait staff by carrying plated food and drink to tables, and removing dishes. 65% of residents found the robots helpful, with 51% saying they let the staff spend more quality time with diners. 51% of staff were "excited" and 58% said they enabled more quality time with diners.[9] The chain has 19 senior living communities (and 35 affordable housing communities), so it has potential to expand robots to more dining rooms.[10] It is shifting to memory care, which may affect plans.[11]


  1. Efficiency: Automated restaurants can significantly enhance operational efficiency by minimizing human error and reducing service time. With automated ordering, payment, and food preparation systems, customers can enjoy faster service and reduced waiting times.[12]
  2. Cost savings: By reducing the need for human staff, automated restaurants can potentially lower labor costs. This can be particularly beneficial in areas with high labor expenses, as it allows for better resource allocation and cost management.[13]
  3. Consistency: Automation ensures consistency in food quality and presentation. With precise portion control and standardized cooking methods, customers can expect the same quality and taste in their meals every time they visit.
  4. Enhanced customer experience: Self-service kiosks and automated systems provide customers with control and convenience. They can customize their orders, browse through menu options, and pay seamlessly, creating a more interactive and satisfying dining experience.[14]


  1. Lack of personal touch: Automated restaurants may lack the personal interaction and warmth that traditional restaurants provide. Some customers prefer the human touch, personalized recommendations, and the social aspect of dining out.[15]
  2. Technical issues: Reliance on technology means that technical glitches and malfunctions can occur, resulting in service disruptions or delays. Maintenance and technical support become critical in ensuring smooth operations.[16]
  3. Limited menu complexity: The automation process may be better suited for standardized menu items rather than complex or customized dishes. The ability to cater to unique dietary preferences or accommodate special requests may be limited.
  4. Employment implications: Automated restaurants may result in job losses for traditional restaurant staff, potentially impacting the local workforce. It is important to consider the social and economic implications of adopting such technology.[17]


Automated restaurants have been opening in many countries. Examples include:

See also


  1. ^ Magnier, Mark (2001-09-02). "Yoshiaki Shiraishi; Founded Conveyor Belt Sushi Industry". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2023-02-20.
  2. ^ "Food on the Move: The History of Conveyor Belt Sushi". Seattle Fish Co. 2015-03-11. Retrieved 2023-02-20.
  3. ^ Kooser, Amanda (May 17, 2011). "McDonald's hires 7,000 touch-screen cashiers". CNET.
  4. ^ "McDonald's is Testing Tablet-Based Burger Customization at 30 Franchises". DailyTech. Archived from the original on 2015-06-07. Retrieved 2015-06-11.
  5. ^ "Restaurant in the Netherlands to use robots to help out waiters". euronews. 2020-06-10. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  6. ^ "Robots dish out the drinks at reopened Dutch restaurant". U.S. 2020-06-04. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  7. ^ O'Beirne, Sarah (23 September 2021). "Atalian Servest and Karakuri's robots to feed Ocado staff". FMJ. FMJ. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  8. ^ Everett, Hayley (21 September 2021). "Columbia engineers cook 3D printed chicken with robotic lasers". 3D printing Industry. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  9. ^ Cerulli, Paige (2023-02-20). "Could Dining Robots Be the Next Big Thing for Senior Care?". I Advance Senior Care. Retrieved 2023-03-21.
  10. ^ Mullaney, Tim (2021-04-01). "Front Porch CEO: With Covia Affiliation, We Are Prepared For Rapid Change in Senior Living". Senior Housing News. Retrieved 2023-03-21.
  11. ^ Regan, Tim (2022-11-04). "Front Porch Goes Big on Memory Care with Multiple Investments, Conversions". Senior Housing News. Retrieved 2023-03-21.
  12. ^ "The Coffee Shop Innovation Expo". The Coffee Shop Innovation Expo. Retrieved 2023-05-12.
  13. ^ "Clear Pros and Cons of an Automated Restaurant". Retrieved 2023-05-12.
  14. ^ "How automation benefits restaurants". Restaurant Business. June 1, 2021. Retrieved 2023-05-12.
  15. ^ "Pros & Cons of Running an Automated Restaurant". Deputy. Retrieved 2023-05-12.
  16. ^ "Automated vs non-automated restaurant - pros and cons". Online Ordering System. 2022-01-23. Retrieved 2023-05-12.
  17. ^ "Automation - Increasing Production Rates, Improving Product Quality, and Reducing Factory Lead Times". Retrieved 2023-05-12.
  18. ^ "Restaurant with robot chef to open at Mall of India in Naperville".
  19. ^ "Fritz's Railroad Restaurant - Kansas City, Kansas".
  20. ^ "Model train delivers restaurant drinks" – via
  21. ^ "Fully automated restaurant opens in Germany". Engadget.
  22. ^ "Robot Chefs Run Restaurant in Japan". Fox News. 13 September 2022.
  23. ^ "¿Cómo es el primer restaurante "inteligente" de la Argentina, al estilo de Amazon Go?".
  24. ^ Saenz, Aaron (December 28, 2010). "A Look Inside China's Robot Restaurant (video)".
  25. ^ "Newscontent". Archived from the original on 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  26. ^ "At Hong Kong High-Tech Cafe, Everything Is Served With Microchips".
  27. ^ "Communist Robot - Where do you stand on the future?". Archived from the original on 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  28. ^ "Middle East's First Robotic Restaurant Opens in Tehran". IFP News. 2017-10-29. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  29. ^ "Interactive Restaurants Making Their Mark". Financial Tribune. 2017-08-13. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  30. ^ "Country Garden Opens China's First Fully Robotic Restaurant in Guangzhou". Yicai Global. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  31. ^ Conveyor-belt sushi (and robots) come to Watertown
  32. ^ "Kura Revolving Sushi Bar".
  33. ^ Jennings, Lisa (February 7, 2023). "Chipotle to test a robotic makeline and new grills". Restaurant Business. Retrieved 2023-02-15.