New Chinese Restaurant Uses Robots

November 26, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. debut /deɪˈbyu, dɪ-, ˈdeɪ byu, ˈdɛb yu/ (n.) – the opening or first appearance of something
Example: The restaurant served free food in its debut.

2. personnel /ˌpɜr səˈnɛl/ (n.) – a group of people that works for a business
Example: A restaurant’s personnel include a cooking staff and a serving staff.

3. repertoire /ˈrɛp ərˌtwɑr, -ˌtwɔr, ˈrɛp ə-/ (n.) – a set of skills used in a certain job
Example: Part of the repertoire of a chef is good presentation of food preparation.

4. investment /ɪnˈvɛst mənt/ (n.) – the act of spending time, effort, and money on something that will prove to be financially successful in the future
Example: Creating his own dishes was an investment that made his restaurant successful.

5. perk /pɜrk/ (n.) – a benefit such as money or goods that the employee is entitled to
ExamplePerks for working overtime includes a 10 percent salary bonus and one leave.


Read the text below.
A restaurant in China serves its customers in high-tech style by including robots in its staff.

Located in Kunshan, Jiangsu, [KOO N-SHAHN, JYAHNG-SY] the restaurant made its debut last August as the country’s second eatery run by a robot personnel. It has eight robots in its workforce. Two robots are stationed at the entrance to greet arriving customers with a warm welcome. Four other robots are in-charge of serving the food in the dining area. Short and round-headed, the serving robots can only travel around the dining area on a fixed path. Two robots are also situated in the kitchens, where they help the human staff with the cooking. 

Technologically speaking, the robots have an impressive repertoire. All the robots are capable of understanding 40 common sentences, while some are equipped with a limited artificial intelligence. For instance, the serving robots are programmed to politely ask customers to move when their path is blocked.

Restaurant owner Song Yugang [YOO GUNG] invented the robots. Yugang shared that using robots is a good investment for his business in various aspects. Aside from raising customer interest and satisfaction, the robots also reduce labor costs. Unlike human workers, the robots do not require employment perks such as sick leaves and vacations. Indeed, the expense of building one robot is almost equivalent to a human employee’s yearly income. 

The rapid rise of labor cost in China is said to be the cause of its growing interest in robotic technology for commercial use. The country’s attraction to automatize its businesses became more apparent when China was declared the largest industrial robot consumer in 2013, seizing the title from Japan.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would you want robots to cook and serve your food? Why or why not?
·         Do you think it is better if robots replace human employees in restaurants? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         If you had a chance to own a robot to do one of your everyday chores or tasks, which chore or task would it be? Why?
·         In your opinion, what is a job that should be employed to robots instead of people? Why?

November 26, 2014