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The work involved in carrying dishes to tables is of no value to customers, so robots can do the work instead.

26 Comments

A spokesperson for Ganko Food Service Co, which operates Japanese restaurants mainly in the Kansai region. It use robots at eight outlets due to staff shortages.

© Yomiuri Shimbun

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Server interaction is key to the dining experience. You are being waited on. Someone is taking your request, answering your questions about the items on the menu - what is it, allergies etc, maybe helping someone choose, informing the kitchen of any particular requirements, making sure you get them in good order, ensuring that your glass is topped up and you have enough water, making sure the food is OK and co-ordinating your bill in a polite and friendly manner. They are the human face and customer interface of a dining establishment.

If you order by app and are served by a robot, beyond the initial novelty, you may as well stay at home and stick something in the microwave. It will beep when it is ready.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

The reason they are having trouble getting staff is because nobody wants to work ¥1000 per hour. Using robots is all about profits. Robots work for free after their purchase is paid off and will never get sick or pregnant. There are no payroll hassles with taxes, health insurance or pension. There is no employer insurance either.

-5 ( +15 / -20 )

That's true in Japan, where waiters are expected to be robots and wait staff are even instructed not to engage in conversation with customers, a former girlfriend once told me.

In nearly all (all?) other countries, customers expect and enjoy friendly and casual interaction with restaurant staff, discussing the weather, sports, etc. Japan is the only country like this, in my experience, at least. So if these robots work, it would have to be in Japan.

-6 ( +14 / -20 )

The work involved in carrying dishes to tables is of no value to customers, so robots can do the work instead.

Japanese exceptional service "Omotenashi" at its best.

That's true in Japan, where waiters are expected to be robots and wait staff are even instructed not to engage in conversation with customers, a former girlfriend once told me.

In nearly all (all?) other countries, customers expect and enjoy friendly and casual interaction with restaurant staff, discussing the weather, sports, etc. Japan is the only country like this, in my experience, at least. So if these robots work, it would have to be in Japan.

I agree 100%. By and large, Japanese staff themselves behave like robots, so we're not missing much.

-12 ( +13 / -25 )

If you order by app and are served by a robot, beyond the initial novelty, you may as well stay at home and stick something in the microwave. It will beep when it is ready.

absolutely. When an establishment is taken over by robots, that's when I stop going

3 ( +12 / -9 )

A lot of work has no value, but that is how capitalism is supposed to work. Jobs have to be provided in order provide customers with money to spend at shops and, which must come as a surprise to Ganko, restaurants.

Will robots ever become customers?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Gimmicky at best. They still require the server to unload the dishes from the robot onto the table. Just have them do the entire process.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Considering the lack of perosnality of servers in Japan (never break the script) give me the robots.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

Welcome to the jobless future of society...

What will happen to the 'excess' people? I would make sure you can guarantee your own existence by farming the land yourself...

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Of the hundreds of restaurants I’ve gone to in the Japanese archipelago, very very few waiters were anything but menu/food deliverers; and difficult to get them to break from the scripts. Even, dare I say it, robotic.

Plus, rather than buy an expensive robot, why don’t they install a conveyor built system or train?

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

In nearly all (all?) other countries, customers expect and enjoy friendly and casual interaction with restaurant staff, discussing the weather, sports, etc. 

I never had servers like that in Florida. I'll take the ones in Japan over them any day.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The work involved in carrying dishes to tables is of no value to customers, so robots can do the work instead.

So much for the myth of "omotenashi". You heard it from the horse's mouth...

On a side-note, last week on TV you could see Ikegami Akira go to New-York. There, they're paying 2,000-3,000 Yen an hour for staff in the restaurant and hospitality industry...and have a hard time finding applicants, so that they are starting to consider offering 4,000-5,000 Yen an hour.

Start paying workers a decent pay in Japan, then you can argue with them if the work they are to deliver is include smiles, human interaction and other stuff a machine can't do...Pay peanuts, get monkeys, as they say...

Essentially, what Japan inc. is offering are low-end dead-end jobs with lousy wages and are expecting workers to be grateful for the breadcrumbs thrown at them. Then yes, go for robots, it's more straight-forward and honest, but don't be surprised if some customers prefer to buy tv diners and put the stuff in the micro-wave oven themselves as the "experience" will be the same...

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

A lot of work has no value, but that is how capitalism is supposed to work. 

If this is the measure we use most of J- public servants and LDP deadwood can be replaced by robots.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Engaging, Thorough and Sociable staff is one of the pluses of going to a restaurant.

Food is obviously the critical point of restaurants, but it's only part of the whole experience.

Robots will not cut it - well not in most places.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Server interaction is key to the dining experience.

Enjoyment of the food is key to the dining experience. Gushing waiters are the last thing I want.

If you're a tourist, visiting Japan for the first time, I can see how interaction with a server would be helpful. Menus here tend to be fairly well-defined, not packed with wild surprises, unless you're talking about spending major money in the presence of some kind of creative genius chef.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Server interaction is key to the dining experience.

In Japan? LOL If well programmed the robots will be a set up.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Plenty of family-run restaurants with helpful polite staff.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The work involved in carrying dishes to tables is of no value to customers

The person who thinks like this has no comprehension of human interaction and the hospitality industry

Human interaction and serving your clients is the lifeblood of any hospitality establishment, you go there to be served and enjoy the interaction between the restaurant staff who ls respectfully serving you food while conversing and having nice night out or lunch with your family or friends.

Human interaction is the service and hospitality industry!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I entirely concur, human interaction is an integral part of dining out. No I don’t want to discuss sport or have someone gushing at the table but a friendly and helpful waiter/waitress can be of inestimable benefit.

The robot versions I have seen on TV you have to unload the food your self. Other than the one off novelty value I would rather stay at home and cook/microwave something my self if robots are the alternative.

lf Japanese restaurant staff are required to be so robotic in their customer interaction then the management are missing a trick, may be the management need to be replaced with robots/algorithms?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

*It use robots at eight outlets *due to staff shortages.

Robots can do the work instead? Sounds more like robots have to do the work instead because they can’t find any people to do it.

I also have this image of Wall-E trundling sadly up to your table, opening his trash compactor, pulling out your food in an old boot and plopping that down in front of you before trundling away in silence.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

What a moron

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

that spokesperson talk is all but rubbish/sorry to be impolite/.

restaurant business or say hospitality business is not only about delivering of dishes to customers table.

possibly that came from some factory where they have replaced people by robots so possibly believes he can increase profit of his company in same way via "robotisation".

work in restaurant or say in hospitality industry in Japan is hard,low paid,time consuming,stressful one.

waiters/waitresses are getting bottom end hourly wages,normally cant take day off weekend or public holidays as restaurants are suppose to be fully packed.usually there is nothing like zangyo/overwork/paid or something like weekend extra salary paid...nothing.

there are no tips in Japan so even you do your best to take care about your own clients and they want to give you a tip-no way you will get one.its mentality setting-you are getting paid normal/?/money so you dont depend up to some tips.

there are no normal bonuses either because of "bad times" or "corona" or any other possible "reason"...because boss is greedy and must have new Lexus every year.

let me say that after 2.5+decades in this country I have seen many restaurants or eateries and you can easily read from workers faces all their stories-frustration,low income,too much stress,no motivation to work better,improve your skills,provide better service...

there is nothing but just sterile contact waiter/waitress-client in exact borders and manners...yes and its often like you talk with human robot instead of human itself.

lucky that there are some few family owned pap and mum businesses,where workers are treated better and they are not just "food delivery machines" from kitchen to customers table.and yes no robots are needed at all.

that guy who wants to replace own workers by robots have never worked in restaurant one single full shift/12+hrs/ when could not take proper break,take a seat,have a normal conversation except phrases with workers and clients,plus a lot of walk/run involved during all day,could not get properly made warm dish and stretch own legs after daily marathon.cant understand few warm words from happy repeating customer who will return to restaurant again just because of your service and care.

that guy who wants to replace own workers with robots is a human robot himself as he never felt as customer in some restaurant want to see that "human part" of service.

he may never heard that in many places they have repeating customers not because of say tasty food,cheap price but because of humans working there,social interaction.

many people who lives alone for any reason/old,sick,kids lives somewhere else or never married/have no one to talk and nowhere to go than to closes restaurant to have some chat,talk with staff,eat and drink something there and feel as normal living human.

now imagine they will replaced staff by some well programed robots.

all in name of "progress" or better say pure greed as company does not want to provide better salaries to own workers and will prefer to lay them off and invest in robots instead...

sad very sad as humanity fading away,apps now robots in restaurants...what will be next...?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Of no value? Disagreed. Often the nice, friendly and beautiful staff is the only value in certain restaurants.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Took my sons to jolly pasta recently. The situation was someone directed you to a table and pointed out a tablet and said get your own water, etc. at the drink bar. Goodbye. So we had a greasy tablet to order from, no questions or changes allowed, put in the order, and then someone brought the plates. For that stellar service the price was at least 10% over last year. Not worth it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'd estimate we are still a few decades of these robots completely replacing human staff. Anyone with experience using automated systems like self checkouts at the supermarket rarely work without a staff member needing to remove an error. I'd imagine replacing broken parts and maintaining the robots wouldn't be cheap.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Complete moron makes completely moronic statement....gets in the news.

Robots and AI certainly have a place in our lives. But so do professional waiting and hospitality staff.

I'd suggest the staff shortage is caused by low wages and an unfair work environment.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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