Would you really be comfortable with a robotic servant taking your order for pizza or a burger?
You can test this proposition for yourself thanks to a pilot between Pizza Hut and Mastercard launching in Asia. The Pepper robot, that is already undergoing tests as a robotic hotel concierge, will be deployed throughout the region, in an effort to improve customer service and reduce labor costs. The robot can take orders and process payments.
Interestingly, Vipul Chawla, managing director of Pizza Hut Restaurants Asia talks about Pepper offering a “fun, frictionless user experience.” What are the possibilities here for extension of service? Think if cognitive robotics are deployed in fast food joints in airports. They can know specifically when your flight is going to leave and offer you a service that fits your schedule.
There is also a cultural component at play here. It may be no accident that many of these pilots are currently taking place in Asia, where the idea of robotics and automation in the service industry appears more palatable. There may still be inhibitions that need to break down in the West before we’re comfortable having our pizza served by a knowledgeable hunk of metal, plastic and wires, especially judging by this Business Insider title.