Alibaba Integrates Robots Into The Restaurant

Alibaba Integrates Robots Into The Restaurant

August 2, 2018

Alibaba is experimenting with robots and software applications to streamline the restaurant ordering and wait staff service processes.

Customers check in at a kiosk and are provided a QR code to track their order through the system.  They walk around the market and choose fresh foods, then the food is robotically delivered to refrigerated storage until the customer is seated. Humans still prepare the meal, but instead of handing it off to a waiter, the meal is placed in a “pod” and delivered via conveyor belt to the customer’s table.


Video spotlight: Hema’s New ‘Robotic Restaurant’


This post is based on the Business Insider article, Robots are replacing waiters and delivering fresh seafood right to people’s tables at Alibaba’s high-tech restaurant in Shanghai, by Prachi Bhardwaj, July 2, 2018, and the YouTube video, Hema’s New ‘Robotic Restaurant’, by Alibaba Group, June 26, 2018. Image sources: Corbis/Superstock and Shutterstock / GreenLandStudio.

Discussion Questions:

1. Would the service delivery model Alibaba is pioneering, with advanced robots and conveyor-belt delivery, be acceptable to domestic customers at a fast food restaurant? What about a fine dining restaurant?

Guidance: Students should review the concepts of servicescape, service delivery, and service Continue reading

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No Robot Takeover in the Warehouse!

No Robot Takeover in the Warehouse!

Warehouse workers are quite confident that robots will not replace them … at least, not yet.

Part of their jobs involves precision work that robots do not have the dexterity or range of motion to perform. To warehouse workers, the greatest potential for robots is to assist them with physically demanding or unpleasant tasks.

Supervisory work also seems immune to a robot takeover.  Moreover, the high cost of robots rules out their use in small- to medium-volume operations.

At least for now.

This post is based on the NPR article, ‘Don’t Think a Robot Could Do This’: Warehouse workers aren’t worried for their jobs, by A. Selyukh, January 25, 2018.  

Discussion Questions

1) What is the primary reason warehouse workers feel that their jobs are secure? Should they feel that way?

Guidance: Discuss the present vs. future of robots in warehouses. The robots with which workers are familiar are still unable to do many of the picking and packing tasks they perform. Therefore, their jobs appear to be secure for the time being. However, the development of skilled robots, the need for greater efficiency, and the falling costs may threaten many of those jobs in the Continue reading

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