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Video Tip: The Automated Sushi Restaurant

September 15, 2020

Workers are frequently told robots are coming for their jobs, while fast food employees are already starting to see automation creep into their places of employment.  Along with kiosks popping up at McDonald’s, diners in Japan have been treated to a sushi-making robot, while in California a robot flips burgers. Chains are thinking more seriously about replacing human staff with technology as a way to combat increased minimum wages and food costs.

Genki Sushi, a Japanese sushi chain expanding throughout Asia, is known for its conveyer belt style of food service, where customers can grab a roll passing by their table. That’s nothing entirely new.

Lately it’s rolled out restaurants in which customers order customized dishes on a tablet. The food is delivered by an automated train which comes straight to the diner’s seat or booth. Upon being seated, everything from sushi to noodle dishes and even cheesecake is delivered by the train. There’s no human involvement at all, even someone to explain the process. Twenty-four sets of tracks crisscross the restaurant, and the train system has the capacity to serve up to 158 patrons at once. When customers are ready to leave, they simply pay for their meal on a self-service machine. They also clear their own tables by simply dropping the plates into a slot that leads to a hidden water-driven conveyor belt.

As we write in Chapter 7 (p.288): “Ultimately, selection of a particular process strategy requires decisions about equipment and technology.” This interesting 3 minute video makes that point to your students.

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