The future of robots in the Hospitality industry

Johnson Reed
3m read
Robots in hospitality industry

Yes, you’ve read that right.

Although, we’re getting to the point where it doesn’t seem too farfetched to believe that robots could soon become the norm in various industries, and for hospitality and catering, the wheels are being set in motion with some really exciting technology. How would you feel about being served by a robot in your local restaurant? It seems the jury is still out on whether or not this is a positive or negative innovation in the industry, but hopefully this article can leave you feeling more informed in what may be coming in the (near) future.

One knock-on effect of the Covid-19 pandemic is the advancement and fast-track of robot implementation into the hospitality industry. A large amount of people still remain cautious when it comes to social distancing from people outside of their household in places like restaurants, bars and hotels. A rapid expansion of robots could see a reduction in covid-19 transmission (Boston Hospitality Review) and ultimately lead to a spike in visits and revenue in an industry struck so heavily by the pandemic. Although, some people may look at this as a negative, as interaction with other humans is a big part of the customer journey and the experience they have visiting restaurants. But just how much of a deal-breaker are human touchpoints to a customer?

A study conducted by Eptica showed that nearly a third (31%) of consumers ranked companies failing to acknowledge upset or anger as a major issue that caused them to switch to rivals. Granted, this would become obsolete if the catering industry became homogenous with the introduction of service robots, but in the early stages it would be a USP for a business. However, this is most likely what is stopping a lot of businesses from taking the plunge and trying to implement service robots into their industry, out of fear they will lose the personal touch with their customers.

Well this may actually not be the case! Johnson Reed are lucky enough to be in frequent contact with various companies working with customer service robots, so we are witnessing first-hand just how intriguing the next few years are going to be for this industry. The immediate goal of customer service robots is not to replace human workers, it is there to aid them. The technology is coming to fill a gap in labour shortages, with figures at a record 1.2 million job vacancies at the end of 2021 ( It will allow for robots to help with easy, mundane tasks such as delivering food and drinks to tables, whilst allowing for humans to deal with more complex issues without being too busy to offer a friendly and helpful customer service because of other jobs they need to complete.

As mentioned earlier, a decision on whether customer service robots in hospitality are a positive or negative thing is still in the balance. A decision probably won’t fully be made until they start to become more common and aren’t seen as these big scary things that are coming to take over the world, when in actuality they are coming to aid the customer service section of many hospitality businesses. Watch this space at Johnson Reed as we continue to help businesses with development plans with their robotics.

To find out more about our work within the catering industry, please click here.