Robots – valuable helpers in European restaurants


Robots working like chefs and waiters in European restaurants left without staff during the pandemic. Biliana Boneva and Milen Atanasov talk about this trend, which received an unexpected boost from the coronavirus.

No unnecessary rattling of pots, no strong emotions and even no sauces spilled on the floor. Let the Italian gourmets not accept the following shots as sacrilege. The kitchen may not look like the traditional ones, but the taste and smell of the prepared pasta are completely close to the dishes of the good master chefs. At least that’s what the creators and first customers of this restaurant assure. Located in Riga. It was created by Konstantis Kortsomkins and Janis Porux, two Latvians determined to revolutionize fast food places.

I didn’t expect food cooked by a robot to be so delicious. But the idea is very good, especially during the Covid times. In my opinion, it is much safer for a robot to prepare food instead of cooks, the client said.

It took three years from the idea of ​​a robot chef to the opening of the restaurant. Even in the beginning, both Latvians took their dream as an extravagant idea. However, the pandemic convinced them of the need for changes in restaurants. The biggest challenge turned out to be the creation of the kitchen, the arrangement of the various cooking hobs and the arrangement of the cabinets for products and spices.

Konstantis Kortsomkins: Yes, it took us almost three years to complete this process. The robot we already use can cook, serve, take orders and self-clean completely on its own. He acts entirely alone.

Almost to perfection, the robot has mastered the preparation of three types of pasta. But its possibilities are limitless, say Constantis and Yannis.

Konstantis Kortsomkins: We can train a robot to cook almost anything. It can cook anything that is cut into pieces. So the vegetables must be chopped in advance, as well as the meat. So we can program it to mix different ingredients and have different dishes.

80 pizzas per hour. And different types. This is the achievement of the world’s first pizza robot chef. His name is Patzi and he reveals his skills in Paris.

Sebastien Roverso, inventor of the robot chef: After 8 years of research and development, we managed to create the robot. It is completely autonomous – from accepting the order to giving the finished pizza.

A team of engineers working remotely monitors what is happening in the restaurant’s kitchen. The biggest challenge remains the dough.

Thierry Grafanino, chef-consultant: Dough is a living thing. With each passing hour it changes. And the robot must know how to work with the dough in different ways. And this is complicated. It is even difficult for many cooks.

French inventors are convinced of their success. After many years of work, the new rules imposed by the pandemic in the field of food, serving and food delivery allow their robot to discover its potential. Besides, who doesn’t love pizza?

Thierry Grafanino, chef-consultant: Pizza can’t go away. This is probably the most versatile food. People eat pizza, regardless of religion or country. There is a Neapolitan, a Sicilian, and now made by a robot. And I think ours is a pretty good competition to the others.

As for the two Latvians who created the first robotic restaurant in Riga, they expect a return on investment within two years. This is shown by their calculations.

Konstantis Kortsomkins: The robot can replace 3 to 5 employees in the kitchen. Without having to make significant changes, the profit from its introduction could be around 200,000 euros a year.

However, robots will not completely take over the kitchens and restaurants, the two Latvians assure. But it is an opportunity to replace unskilled workers, who are finding it increasingly difficult to find in the labour market.

The shortage of such workers, especially during the pandemic, led the owners of a Bavarian restaurant to rent a Hilde. The nimble robot with a distinctive female name helps chefs and waiters.

Stefan Kammermeier, restaurant owner: We decided to take a robot because we didn’t have enough employees. But this is not a replacement for the staff, but a kind of relief for the waiters.

Hilde patiently accepts the load of ready meals, carries them to the appropriate table and waits to be unloaded by a waiter. Hilde is always well-cleaned, keeps a distance, does not have to wear a protective mask, does not wait and does not accept tips. The robot is part of the new automated generation of employees which immediately enter the more active period for the establishments and remains in „standby“ mode in the absence of orders, without having to be dismissed.