The future of the foodservice industry will be shaped by a range of disruptive themes, with robotics being an important theme that will revolutionise the value chain of foodservice companies. A detailed analysis of the theme, insights into the leading companies, and their thematic and valuation scorecards are included in GlobalData’s thematic research report,Robotics in Consumer – Thematic Research. Buy the report here.
Robotics, or robotic process automation (RPA), is the application of technology that allows employees in a company to configure computer software, or a ‘robot’, to capture and interpret existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses, and communicating with other digital systems.
Robotics is a fast-growing industry. According to GlobalData forecasts, it will have grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 25% during 2020-2030. The overwhelming majority of large foodservice operators have implemented some level of robotics within their supply chains. The push towards greater adoption of robotic technology has been driven by the largest consumer sector companies. The likes of McDonald’s, KFC, and Chipotle have heavily invested in robotic efficiency throughout their supply chains.
However, not all companies are equal when it comes to their capabilities and investments in the key themes that matter most to their industry. Understanding how companies are positioned and ranked in the most important themes can be a key leading indicator of their future earnings potential and relative competitive position.
According to GlobalData’s thematic research report, Robotics in Foodservice, leading robotics adopters include: Chipotle, Compass, Starbucks, Too Go To Go and Yum! Brands.
Insights from top ranked companies
Yum! Brands, the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, has launched a series of robotics projects across its fast-food chain brands. In 2018, Pizza Hut collaborated with Toyota to deliver pizzas in Japan via autonomous vehicles. In October 2020, KFC partnered with Hyundai Robotics, a major industrial robot maker affiliated with South Korea’s top shipbuilding group, to co-develop collaborative robots that will help human workers prepare menus more safely and quickly. In June 2020, KFC launched a robot-powered, contactless restaurant in Moscow, Russia, as a response to Covid-19, to provide a high-tech and low-contact foodservice operator.
In 2022, Chipotle partnered with Miso Robotics on a robotic tortilla chip maker called Chippy. Chippy is currently being tested at Chipotle’s innovation hub, the Chipotle Cultivate Center, located in Irvine, California. The restaurant chain plans to integrate the autonomous kitchen assistant at one of its Southern California restaurants later this year.
In April 2021, Domino’s and Nuro began autonomous pizza delivery in Huston after partnering in 2019. Customers received the pizza from Nuro’s R2 robot, a fully autonomous on-road delivery vehicle that has been approved by the US Department of Transportation.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the foodservice industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Robotics in Foodservice.
Frequently asked questions
1. How are Foodservice companies using robotics?
Foodservice companies are using robotics in various ways, including automating repetitive tasks such as food preparation, cooking, and cleaning. They are also using robots for inventory management, order fulfillment, and delivery. For example, McDonald's has integrated robotic technology throughout its distribution network, consumer-facing order systems, and kitchens.
2. How does robotics impact the Foodservice industry?
Robotics is transforming the Foodservice industry by increasing efficiency, reducing labor costs, and improving food safety. It also enables companies to offer contactless delivery and reduce reliance on human couriers. Robotics can also help address the challenge of understaffing in the industry.
3. Who are the top robotics adopters in Foodservice?
The top robotics adopters in Foodservice include large consumer sector companies such as McDonald's, KFC, and Chipotle. These companies have heavily invested in robotic efficiency throughout their supply chains.
4. Who are the leading providers of robotics in the Foodservice industry?
The leading providers of robotics in the Foodservice industry include companies such as ABB, FANUC, Kawasaki, Midea (KUKA), Rockwell Automation, and Yaskawa.
5. How does investment in robotics help Foodservice companies?
Investment in robotics helps Foodservice companies by increasing efficiency, reducing labor costs, and improving food safety. It also enables companies to offer contactless delivery and reduce reliance on human couriers. Robotics can also help address the challenge of understaffing in the industry.
6. What are the challenges with adoption of robotics in Foodservice?
The challenges with adoption of robotics in Foodservice include high initial costs, lack of skilled labor to operate and maintain the robots, and concerns about the impact on employment. There are also regulatory challenges.
7. Who are the leading specialist robotics vendors in Foodservice?
The leading specialist robotics vendors in Foodservice include companies such as Miso Robotics, Kitchen Robotics, and Shenzhen Pudu Technology.
8. What are the components of the robotics value chain?
The components of the robotics value chain include robot manufacturing, hardware components such as precision mechanical parts and semiconductors, software components such as robotic intelligence and cloud robotics, and robotics as a service.