The coming year will be a proving year around all the hype of robotics in food that was created in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, the reality will set in that the labor shortage in restaurants is not a fleeting issue, though it may become less acute than it had been during the height of the pandemic. Restaurants will need to expand their robotics and AI pilots and roll-out new solutions.
The previous three years have felt a little like the 1997-2000 dot-com era for restaurant robotics companies. At that time, everyone knew the web was the future, and money was flooding in, but there weren’t yet any substantial winners and it was hard to predict exactly how the disruption would occur.. 2022 (and 2023) will be when we find out who can actually operationalize their product to solve the massive issues that aren’t going away for the food service industry.
I think that we will actually start seeing brand spec robotics and AI as early as 2022 within their standard new-restaurant package. Moving from proof of concept to industry standard is massive. Big restaurant chains will expand and begin to trust and try a variety of new automation products on the market, rather than just “exploring” individual robots as a kind of one-off approach.’ Artificial intelligence will also develop to a point where even mom-and-pop restaurants will have access to that type of technology to try out.
The tide has turned to food technology. Next year will be the year many realize it’s not going back.
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