Restaurants Have an Unlikely Saviour Against Recession: Robots!
First the pandemic and then the war in Ukraine, it appears that the UK restaurant industry cannot catch a break. Fortunately, robots for restaurants are coming to their rescue.
As the UK’s newest Prime Minister, Liz Truss, settles into office, she’ll be taking the reins of a country that’s teetering on the brink of recession. Manufacturing is slowing, private sector activity is falling, and inflation is soaring!
Across the pond, they’re still arguing about the definition of recession, unable to come to terms with the unfolding reality. Thankfully, the best economic minds of the country have not shied away from pointing out the obvious signs of the inevitable recession.
Closer home, it remains to be seen how the current ruling dispensation will approach the worrying economic affairs of the country, but businesses – big or small – cannot afford to bury their collective heads in the sand, hoping for the crisis to pass. PwC, for one, summarily predicts a recession for the UK by the end of this year and expects it to continue for the next two years.
Where does that leave small and medium businesses like restaurants, bars, and food chains in the UK?
Threats Facing UK Restaurants
The restaurant industry had high hopes for the year 2022. Things were finally beginning to look up. As the pandemic’s woes began to fade, restaurants doubled down on business and staff hiring. Some of them even redecorated, took loans, and geared themselves up to open a new chapter. Then the war in Ukraine began. Today, the situation looks bleak. Here are some of the big challenges facing restaurants in the country:
Skyrocketing Energy Costs
Sanctions on Russia have disrupted energy logistics worldwide, sending energy prices soaring. In just a few months, energy prices have tripled. On one end, consumers are grappling with higher utility bills and cutting down on expenses like eating out. On the other hand, the cost of doing business for restaurants is spiraling out of control.
Increasing Staff Wages
Official figures put the rate of inflation in the UK at 9.9%. Some analysts expect it to go as high as 14% before decreasing towards the end of 2023. Hospitality staff, who are among the lowest paid employees, face the heat of inflation the hardest and, naturally, demand higher wages.
As restaurants try to get back on their feet, they face an uphill task of finding and hiring the right talent in an industry marked by labor shortage. Naturally, poaching is at an all-time high.
Another reason the cost of running restaurants is rising is because of the rising interest rates. As the Bank of England increases the base rate to tackle inflation, the interest rates on commercial and business loans also increase. So, it costs more for restaurants to keep the proverbial lights on.
Training Time & Costs
The hospitality business is notorious for high attrition rates. Every time an employee quits, it costs a mini fortune to train a new employee. Not to mention the cost of time.
Restaurant staff operates under stressful conditions as they deal with increasingly demanding customers. Sometimes, they need downtime in the form of holidays; sometimes, they need supervision to ensure they deliver smooth services; sometimes, they have to be inspired to perform their duties as per the roaster.
All these “little things” consume the management’s time, which could otherwise be better put to use in delivering superior customer satisfaction.
How Robots for Restaurants Are Changing the Business
Service robots have come of age! They are no more the cute, clumsy, fragile gadgets showcased in international events. Well, some of them are cute, but they are powerful too. Modern service robots perform highly specialized tasks in a variety of business contexts.
There are robot chefs, robot waiters, robot assembly line workers, robot photographers, robot bartenders, robot cocktail bars, and other service robots currently in operation. And they are doing an outstanding job too.
Here are some of the benefits of using robots for restaurants:
Reduced Labor Costs
No more staffing woes and costs. No labor shortage, no mood swings, no poaching fears, no attrition problem, and none of the other human issues associated with staffing. When you hire or buy robots for bars or restaurants, they work day and night tirelessly, clocking in enormous savings for your business.
Experiment and Pivot at Low Costs
How do you ensure you have a successful business model? By experimenting with different ideas, of course.
But, when you hire people who depend on you, it becomes difficult for you to experiment with different ideas. You cannot hire and fire people at will. Perhaps, you can fire them, but hiring is a complex, time-consuming, and expensive process.
With robots, that’s no more an issue. Want to add a bar to your joint? Hire a robot bartender for a month and see how it goes. If things don’t go well, return it.
Whether you need robotic waiters, robotic bartenders, a bionic bar, or something else, you don’t have to train any of the robots. They’ll all be preprogrammed to perform their duties and can get to work at full efficiency from Day 1. Imagine how much time, effort, and money you can save on onboarding.
Require No Supervision
Routine charging and occasional maintenance are all service robots require to work at 100% efficiency every day and night. No need to monitor their behavior, track their performance, or worry about their service quality. They win the highest marks on all these factors, no matter the customers, time of the day, or the menu.
With robot waiters, you don’t have to ever deal with unplanned absences, rota management, mood issues, or other human issues. If you’re worried about maintaining the robots, just hire robots instead of buying them. The vendor will take care of the repairs and maintenance for you. So, another less thing to worry about.
Time’s Running Out
The hospitality industry across the UK is embracing service robots to automate their services and save on costs. Besides saving costs, these robots offer a fresh experience for the customers, so they’re proving to be crowd attractions too.
Naturally, restaurants are buying and hiring robotic waiters, robotic bartenders, robot cocktail bars and coffee-makers, and other robots to fuel their growth. The more you wait, the more you make yourself vulnerable to competition that’s quickly embracing service robots.
While the politicians continue to bicker about whether to call the crisis facing the economy a “recession,” you can take concrete steps to protect your investment, income source, and future today with service robots.