Sunday September 26, 2021

Kitchen robot in Riga cooks up new future for fast food

AFP
August 01, 2021

Riga, Latvia: A pasta order comes in and the robotic arm springs into action at the Roboeatz eatery in Riga. After five minutes of gyrations, a piping hot plate is ready.

The Riga cafe, located under a crumbling concrete bridge, is designed in such a way that customers can observe the robotic arm at work. It also has a seating area, although most customers prefer take away since vaccination certificates are required to be able to eat indoors in Latvia.

A Roboeatz app allows customers to order and pay for their dish before picking it up at the cafe.

"The food tasted better than I expected!" said customer Iveta Ratinika, a teacher and a member of the Latvian capital’s education board. Ratinika said she would encourage schoolchildren to come and observe the robotic arm in action and mused that there could be robots working at the school cafeteria within "a few years".

Roboeatz was set up in January 2018 by Konstantins Korcjomkins and Janis Poruks, who have been running the Woki Toki fast food chain in Latvia since 2009.

Their aim? To revolutionise the fast food industry.

"This robot replaces four to six human employees, reducing labour costs significantly," said Poruks, who has a background in engineering.

But he stressed that the introduction of such robots would not push up unemployment rates since "people are not lining up to flip burgers".