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Topic: How Robotic Food Runners Deliver Huge Dining ROI< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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Posted: Aug. 12 2022,04:32

How Robotic Food Runners Deliver Huge Dining ROI

As senior living operators seek new methods for solving staffing shortages, a new pilot program in one Baltimore community reveals that robotic food runners in dining rooms deliver a labor cost ROI of up to 124% — all while retaining strong resident engagement.To get more news about Logistics Robotics, you can visit glprobotics.com official website.

When food service provider Culinary Services Group wanted to find a new solution to dining room staffing shortages they turned to an unexpected solution: robotics. It was important to the company to maintain a high level of resident engagement, so they turned to long-time partner and independent living facility the Homestead to test the new technology.  

Part of Springwell Senior Living, Homestead is led by Executive Director and Principal Phil Golden, a longtime proponent of both new technology and amenities that enhance daily life for residents. Homestead residents enjoy a village-like setting with a superior level of hospitality, making it the perfect location for a piloted robotics food server program
The goal of this partnership was to determine the performance, operational efficiency and return on investment of utilizing food service robots as part of a residential dining program. Golden and CSG sought to learn whether the residential dining experience could be improved while retaining resident engagement and maximizing the value to operators. The answers to both were decidedly yes. Here is what they learned.

Running in September and October of 2021, the pilot program sought to evaluate and compare two of the top food service robotics platforms: Servi, from Bear Robotics, and Matradee, from Richtech. Based on observations, the best use of food service robots is to be a “runner” in dining room settings.
These tasks allow the host or server to remain on the dining room floor, increasing not only speed of service but resident interaction. This is crucial because staffing continues to be a major concern for the senior care industry — 80% of senior housing providers recently reported that their biggest issue now is staffing shortages and worker burnout.

If food service robotics are a solution to staffing challenges without sacrificing human touch, they could be a game-changer not only for the food management industry but also senior care.

“The bot cut down on kitchen time for our servers and allowed them to spend more time with the residents in the dining room and pay more attention to the extra details and wants of the residents,” says Gerard Campbell of CSG, who works as Chef Manager of The Homestead. “The robot was extremely helpful for our staff and also a great talking point for our residents.”
A major question that operators have when introducing resident-facing technologies is the impact on residents. This is especially true for robotic food runners, who are handling tasks traditionally held by humans.

What Campbell and others saw was that the robotic food servers did not reduce resident engagement. Instead, the residents enjoyed seeing the service robot, which was a novelty and something to talk about. Many residents even created their own pet names for the device.

“Using the robot as a kitchen runner at The Homestead allowed our servers and host to remain on the dining room floor, ensuring orders were taken in a timely manner and food was delivered expediently and at the proper temperatures,” says former CSG Food Service Director Aaron Mayer, who now works for Bear Robotics.The hourly benefits of food service robots are unmistakable. They won’t replace cooks or prep positions, nor will they handle side work. Instead, they can reduce or eliminate many of the job requirements of a runner or host. In most health care settings, this position is commonly referred to as a diet aide.

Robotic servers can operate for 13 total active hours per day and are available seven days a week, greatly reducing the disruption of call-outs and short-staffing. In the pilot, the typical schedule for these food service robots ran from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the robots charging overnight.

That means they can potentially replace one part-time diet aide shift per day, or two part-time diet aides per employee roster. The national average hourly rate for this role is $12.50, a part-time shift is six hours, meaning these two employees can cover about 42 hours of labor per week. The robots can handle 91 hours.
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