Scared about robots taking over the world? Don’t be. Unlike the robot revolutions and dystopian technologies on TV, automation will likely only improve our existing quality of life, especially when it comes to the restaurant industry.
While many workers fear losing their jobs to automation technologies, the rise of artificial intelligence is predicted to lead to 58 million net new jobs. According to a PwC study, jobs with tasks that require manual, routine, and/or computational skills are more likely to be replaced with machines than those that require greater management, social, and literacy skills.
For restaurants, repetitive and non-technical tasks such as taking payments or flipping burgers may become automated. Luckily, few employees are hired exclusively for their ability to count change or season a patty. As the foodservice industry continues to invest in automation technologies, restaurants will be able to reallocate their time and resources, ultimately benefiting both their employees and customers.
Greater Management Responsibility
Menial tasks such as taking payments and cleaning the storefront will be the first to become automated, and employers will be able to take more time to train and equip employees with valuable managerial skills. Successful managers must be flexible, innovative, and organized, but many management positions require some basic training in overseeing operations and meeting customer demands.
Management positions also require excellent interpersonal skills to lead a team and handle customers, and when it comes to “complex social situations,” humans will always outperform machines. In addition to more traditional management positions, automation may lead to new management positions that require humans to oversee machine learning and operations.
Sure, computers are fast, but humans are creative. While a robot might be able to assemble your grain bowl and dish out fro-yo, there’s still a human behind that impeccably plated dish and unique flavor profile. The restaurant industry relies on human innovation and creation from beginning to end. From testing new flavors for next season’s menu to imagining the design of a restaurant’s new location, human imagination is what drives the restaurant industry forward.
The automation of day-to-day tasks can free up a restaurant to focus its time on more creative pursuits. With more time to innovate and invest in creative problem solving, restaurants will be able to bring their customers tomorrow’s solutions sooner.
The Human Experience
Restaurants should embrace automation as an ally. By investing in machines that can handle the routine tasks of everyday operations, employees can focus their time on building valuable leadership skills and creating the innovative solutions of tomorrow.
Automation will also allow restaurants to direct more of their resources into supporting their employees. Whatever that may look like, from sending their head chef abroad to develop next season’s menu to adding more servers for an elevated dining experience, automation can allow a restaurant to invest more in its people.
Restaurants are human operations, and increased automation won’t change that. Instead, restaurants should consider embracing automation as a tool for creating a more human experience.