Colombian junk food chain turns automated in response to the pandemic

August 17, 2020 Technology
A Colombian junk food chain is likely to turn its branches into automated restaurants at a moment when the coronavirus pandemic has slammed the food service industry worldwide.

MUY has more than 30 restaurants in Bogota, and four in Mexico City. Earlier this month, it opened its first “contactless store” in a commercial district of Bogota, where many restaurants have already been forced to turn off as a result of a ban on sit-down dining.

The automat’s main lobby is lined with colorful touch screens which customers order their food. Another screen tells people when their order is ready and directs them to small cubicles where they are able to pick up their hot meals in bags. Machines take payments in cash or bank cards.

“It’s very practical” said Felipe Sanchez a publicist who said he has been visiting the restaurant twice a week. “I believe they have continued to ensure the quality of the meals while implementing new safety measures.”

MUY serves freshly cooked rice bowls that include proteins like grilled chicken and strewn beef, and vegetables and Colombian favorites like plantains, red beans, chorizo and pork rinds.

The business has used the touch screens since it was founded in 2018 and says that it planned to transition to contactless stores whether or not the pandemic hadn’t broken out.

“The technology helps us to make our service faster and to make it more personalised” said the company’s CEO, Jose Guillermo Calderon. He explained that the computers gather data on what customers order in order that next time they visit, a common meals arrive on the screens.

The machines also track just how much of each ingredient is being requested, helping the business to avoid purchasing a lot more than it needs.

“A normal restaurant can dispose of up to 30% of its food” Calderon said. “We have cut that right down to 2.7% which is still a lot, but significantly less than the rest of the industry.”

Automated restaurants date back again to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when entrepreneurs in Germany and the U . S built eateries referred to as automats that sold meals in large vending machines that took coins. Those in america began to shut down in the 1980s.

But some stay in holland and a restaurant with an identical contact-free system opened in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires in 2018.

New attempts to launch automated restaurants based around touch screens in the U.S. have had limited success. Spyce, a Boston eatery where robots cooked meals turn off in November to make changes to its menu and hasn't reopened. Eatsa, which launched in SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA in 2015, closed its branches this past year, changed its name and today targets developing software.

MUY is wanting to adjust to the pandemic by making it possible for customers to order food from your home via an app. It’s also keeping costs low by hiring humans to accomplish its cooking rather than investing in robots. Calderon said that the chain is selling about $1 million monthly at its a lot more than 30 locations, with sales already recovering to pre-pandemic levels. The cost of dishes starts at about $2.20.

“Its very reasonable” said Dayana Briceno a beautician who visits on her behalf lunch break. “And it allows me to make contact with work quickly.”

MUY is also hoping to portray itself as a bio-secure location. An employee at the access greets customers with santising gel and touchscreens are disinfected at regular intervals. 
Source: Deccanchronicle - Tech News

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