Looks like LG is getting into the dedicated food robot space with the announcement today that it has formed a partnership with Korean restaurant chain, CJ Foodville. According to the AJU Business Daily, LG will build a Flippy-like robot that will begin testing this year.
LG’s move into more dedicated food robotics isn’t that surprising as the company already has its line of CLOi robots to help out the hospitality industry. Plus, all of its main rivals have their own food robot initiatives as well. Samsung has its robotic arm kitchen helper, Sony partnered with Carnegie-Mellon to develop food-related robots, and Panasonic is helping roboticize the Haidilao restaurant chain in China.
LG and CJ Foodville didn’t provide details about the program, a senior official at LG was quoted by the Korean Herald as saying “Robots will help with repetitive chores on behalf of human employees while the employees can provide better service and value for customers.”
This is a common refrain and one we hear whenever robots are introduced into the workforce whether it be behind the grill or roaming the grocery aisle. We talked a lot about the issues of robots and human labor at our recent ArticulATE automation summit this week. One of the issues panelists brought up is that quick service restaurants are facing a labor crunch, with one of the reasons being that a lot of people would prefer the flexibility of driving for Uber rather than working in a kitchen.
Automation in the food business is inevitable, so expect even more robot announcements from LG and other consumer electronics giants throughout this year.