It doesn’t seem like very long ago when images from the Minority Report evoked a vision of the future none of us could imagine
But fast forward to 2017 and the age of robotics is upon us…and it’s being led by food service
Take, for example, Zume Pizza, in Mountain View, California. Zume is replacing human chefs with robots, slashing labor costs in half, and reinvesting those savings into higher-quality ingredients
“What we are doing is leveraging the power of this evolution of automation, these intelligent robots, to put better food on people’s tables,” said Julia Collins, the company’s co-founder and co-CEO.
Zume might be leading with using robots in food production, but but not in employing robots into business operations.
In November last year, Domino’s made the world’s first commercial delivery of food by drone
Domino’s CEO Don Meij says drones offer the potential for “safer, faster deliveries to an expanded delivery area” while keeping the company’s 10 minute delivery target. “They can avoid traffic congestion and traffic lights, and safely reduce the delivery time and distance by travelling directly to customers’ homes. This is the future,” he said.
Meanwhile Yelp are trialling a Yelp/Eat24 “delivery robot” in the San Francisco area
Right now, if you place an order to the Yelp Eat24 app or Eat24.com from local restaurants, your delivery might be coming from a robot.
How does it work, exactly? After an order is placed from one of these participating restaurants, diners receive a text message asking if they are willing to accept the delivery from a robot.
If they say yes, one of the robots will pick up the order from the restaurant and make its way to the diner. When the robot is close, the diner will receive a text message with a code to unlock the cargo bin, and voila! Delicious food delivered via robot.
Zume’s co-bot workforce, Yelp & Domino’s are providing models for what the future of many industries, including retail, might look like.
Within five years robots and so-called intelligent agents will eliminate many positions in customer service, trucking and taxi services, amounting to as much as 6% of jobs, according to a recent Forrester report. It’s a heady restructure of the workforce as we know it, that may well bring about heady changes to your P&L