Despite the pandemic affecting the Indian restaurant industry, there has been a rise in various different kinds of restaurant setups like cloud kitchens, food trucks and popups. Along with that, there has been a recognisable increase in the number of traditional outlet types. There are many factors which have contributed to this growth like the entry of POS software providers, more efficient kitchen equipment and usage of kitchen automation.
The rise of kitchen automation also resulted due to the need for faster and more efficient service and customer management. The rise in competition required the need to stand apart from the market which was something technology was able to facilitate. While India is still adapting to these new technological advances, countries like the USA, Japan and China have already adapted and revamped their previous tech. They have not just automated the restaurants but the entire food industry without compromising on quality.
But as there is a rapid demand and development of kitchen automation in India, there comes the classic question of whether or not there is a need to change or upgrade the already successful restaurant business processes and technologies? And so, this blog is to tell you
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Kitchen Automation?
Before understanding the Pros or Cons of kitchen automation, we should first understand why the need for automation?
- The key purpose of kitchen automation is to reduce human involvement in any kind of process without completely eliminating their duty of supervising the machinery and maintaining it.
- Involvement of technology in everyday tasks helps reduce the chances of errors which occur on the part of staff due to the repetitive nature of these tasks.
- Any and all kind of technology is necessary to upscale the business. In the restaurant industry, technology plays an essential role in fast service, maintaining quality standards and reducing wastage.
- Technological advancements became essential to attract more millennials and to distinguish one’s business from other players.
- With easy access to the internet, customers switched to social media platforms to connect with their favourite restaurants, cooks and brands. Because of this, more and more restaurant business switched their platforms to social media to interact with the customers or reach more potential ones.
- The rise of third-party platforms like Swiggy and Zomato opened a new channel for restaurants to serve their customers. Due to the increase in online orders, restaurants had to update their kitchen management and kitchen equipment to meet the demands and earn revenues.
- Many players, apps and software came into the business as a way to keep up with rising customer demands. Apps like Dunzo, Amazon Pay, Reelo etc. were developed to assist the restaurant industry in acquiring and retaining more customers.
- Restaurants which serve authentic cuisine brought in international cooking techniques and technology to serve the original taste and ambience to the customers. This also led to kitchen automation made to cook and store ingredients.
Pros Of Kitchen Automation
1. Quicker And Faster Customer Service
One of the reasons for the rise in kitchen automation was the need for reaching more customers in lesser time. Like using machinery that stores pre or semi-cooked meals that can be served quickly to the customers. With the help of smart temperature-regulated storage systems, inventory shelf life can be increased.
2. Efficient Kitchen Management
One of the biggest benefits of kitchen automation is that it simplifies the storage of not just inventory but also kitchen equipment. When all the equipment, ingredients and inventory are stored properly, the coordination between the staff and their collective output increases. An effective tool for kitchen management is the KDS. With the help of KDS, the kitchen staff can keep track of all the orders and their variations without misplacing any customer orders.
3. Saving Money
Kitchen automation saves money in the long run. At the initial stage, employing high-end tech and kitchen equipment might feel like a waste of money. But necessary investments cannot be skipped and using current and modern-day tech results in an increase in kitchen efficiency and output over time.
4. Safer, Cleaner And Smarter Kitchens
With kitchen automation, kitchens have become safer and cleaner. The standard hygiene protocol has been strictly regulated in restaurants. If there is a single slip and your restaurant gets a bad review, it can affect your business reputation. And so, investing in quality kitchen equipment, storage spaces, cutting equipment, automatic cooking machines, and cleaning equipment helps set standards and maintain quality.
Cons Of Kitchen Automation
1. High Investment And Maintenance
We all love when technology takes over our daily tasks and simplifies them. But at the same time, this high-end technology is expensive and needs a lot of money put into maintaining and updating it. Restaurant owners looking to include luxury storage and cooking equipment in their kitchens should keep a check on the maintenance cost too before buying any.
Employing technology for kitchen automation might not be the need of the hour for many restaurants, cafes and bars. Small-scale restaurants, dhabbas or stalls have no use for KDS, solar cookers or even industry-level storage systems. For outlets such as theirs buying technology becomes more of an expense than an investment. Additionally, these SMBs, have people employed and cross-trained for all kinds of tasks and due to the scale and nature of their business, they see no need for using any high-end technology.
3. Employee Training
The training and learning aspect of the technology cannot be skipped from this equation. There needs to be thorough training of the staff before they get the hang of the equipment and so, this training becomes taxing in monetary terms and time-consuming. And given the low literacy rate of restaurant industry employees, these tasks become more of a hassle than a convenience. Additionally, with every single update or change in technology, the staff too needs to be trained again. These tasks become too unnecessary and time-consuming, especially for small-scale outlets.
Despite its advances, technology cannot be relied upon. Once there is a full dependency on any kind of automation then its inability to perform affects the entire business. And so, there is a lag in the daily tasks. Despite regular developments and revolutions in kitchen automation, the user cannot rely on it absolutely and need human assistance.
Any type of automation comes out of the need for a simpler and quicker solution to regular tasks. While these advancements are resulting in better outcomes and faster restaurant services, there is still major reliability on staff for performing tasks involving interacting with customers.
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