COVID protection measures at restaurants in Japan

By Staff Writer
October 14, 2022
With the number of COVID infections decreasing, several prefectures across Japan are easing restrictions and COVID prevention measures employed in restaurants. However, restaurants are continuing to employ new measures and strategies to suppress the spread of COVID infections.
A family orders in a restaurant via a QR code
One significant strategy that has gained a lot of attention is the use of an automated robot with a cute cat face to carry meals to and from the kitchen.

The robots are equipped with four spacious trays placed vertically, which, in total, can carry up to 20kg of plates and cutlery. It uses a 3D camera and automation technology to move around the hallway smoothly and efficiently, reducing the amount of movement and face to face contact required between the waitstaff . In some restaurants, the robot will bring your food to your table, and customers are allowed to take their meals from the tray. Upon taking your food from the tray, the cat-faced robot will say “Thank you for your order. Enjoy your meal. Excuse me.” in an adorable cat-like dialect. The robot has been especially popular among children and families, and some customers say Each restaurant uses two robots. Each robot can replace up to 3 staff worth of labor, and thus not only is effective for COVID prevention but is considered to support shortages of labor.

Furthermore, most of the major family restaurants require the use of tablets or writing down your order on paper to order your meals, which have also contributed to reducing the amount of face-to-face contact between waitstaff and customers. Skylarks Holdings started rolling out these robots in their major family restaurant chains, including Saizeriya, Jonathans, Bamiyan, at the end of last year, and Saizeriya introduced the robots to 50 of its stores this August.
A woman with a mask orders food at a store
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