Robotics have a prominent place in the present and the future of foodservice, whether it is automated data collection or a burger-flipping robot. Now, Compass Group Canada and SJW Robotics are introducing a 24-hour automated kitchen, which the latter company calls “the world’s first fully autonomous robotic restaurant that cooks made-to-order meals”.
The two companies have announced an exclusive partnership to pilot three 24/7 autonomous kitchen robots named RoWok™ in select Canadian operations.
A release notes that the partnership is aimed at addressing what it calls “a gap in foodservice” – namely, the lack of availability of warm, fresh, customizable meals – and wants to cater to customers looking to a fresh food option in extreme off-peak hours, such as workers on a night shift or students studying after hours.
RoWok is designed to serve spaces that traditionally may not have an available footprint for an on-site kitchen or kitchen staff available 24/7, while also providing an easy-to-use, hot, fresh food alternative at any time of day.
Using robotics, AI, machine learning, data science, and cloud analytics technology, RoWok occupies only 100 square feet of space but has the ability to produce more than 60 meals per hour. Described as “a natural fit” for facilities where kitchen services are not available, Compass intends to expand the services to cater to large-scale kitchen operations and mixed schedules, such as those in a hospital or all-hours office environment.
The RoWok machine works hand-in-hand with foodservice workers on site, who are required to prep, stock, and monitor the quality of product and service. The technology promises to help reduce the costs and labour complexities associated with offering a 24/7 staffed, fresh food service operation.
“We looked at traditional hot food service models and saw a real need for 24/7 meal availability with wow factor,” said Michael Hachey, Compass chief innovation officer. “By partnering with RoWok, we are adapting to different needs in the market and augmenting existing hot food service models that typically require labour and a full-service kitchen. People never used to think about grabbing a hot, fresh, customized meal at 3 a.m. because it was simply not available – now it’s possible with this cutting-edge technology that solves for these complexities.”
This is one of several new concepts from Compass Group Canada’s newly announced innovation team.
Compass Group Canada and SJW Robotics have begun exploring pilot locations across Ontario and plan to install three machines this coming fall in the healthcare, business and industry, and educational spaces.
Compass Group Canada has over 20,000 associates working in more than 2,200 locations throughout the country, working across sectors including leading sports and leisure venues, executive dining rooms and cafes, schools, universities, seniors’ residences, and hospitals. SJW Robotics is a company that has spent years developing autonomous kitchen robotic systems for the hospitality industry.