Steamboat chain Haidilao opens robot-run restaurant in Beijing, plans one for S'pore in 2019

Straight out of Black Mirror.

Jonathan Lim | October 29, 2018, 06:22 PM

How much technology does operating a steamboat restaurant require?

Quite a lot, if you are Chinese steamboat restaurant giant Haidilao.

On the back of a S$1.3 billion IPO in Hong Kong in September, Haidilao is planning to use technology to maintain its lead in the steamboat business.

Robots in place of service staff

According to GoGo News, Haidilao just opened its first "intelligent" restaurant in Beijing.

This 2,200 sq m restaurant will use automation and technology to replace functions typically staffed by humans — taking orders, preparing orders, serving dishes, and receiving payment.

Source: GoGo News

Once an order has been received via its electronic ordering system (currently powered by electronic tablets), the intelligent restaurant's robotic arms, with the aid of RFID technology, will collect pre-packaged dishes from storage according to the diner's order.

These dishes will then be passed on to robot servers that will bring them to diners.

A robot server. Source: GoGo News

According to GoGo News, Haidilao has said that after implementing automation and analysing its supply chain, the new intelligent restaurant lowered labour cost by 37 per cent.

Say "byebye" to affable Haidilao wait staff.

Personalised steamboat broth

Haidilao will also allow diners to personalise their own steamboat broth.

Apart from robot waiters, it has also invested in a machine that is able to prepare broths that cater to a diner's individual taste.

Diners can supposedly make changes to the base ingredients and seasoning in their broth down to a granular level — in units of 0.5 grams.

A machine that remembers your steamboat broth preference. Source: GoGo News

Once you have found that perfect level of spice or savouriness, your settings can be saved and you will be able to enjoy the broth to your exact specifications on your next visit.

Singapore 2019

GoGo News says the hotpot giant has confirmed plans to open two more intelligent restaurants in Beijing next year.

It also reported that it is planning to open a similar restaurant in Singapore in the second half of 2019. It's currently in the midst of confirming a location.

Top image from Yicai


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