More than half of diners would eat food made by robots - survey

A new survey reveals that more than half of restaurant diners would eat food made by robots – if it tasted good.

The ‘Refuelling Rituals’ survey – published by London-based international customer experience and branding agency I-AM – states that 56 per cent would consider robot-made food.

And 59 per cent said they would be happy to see more technology in restaurants if it meant an improvement in the dining experience.

Whilst people are still eating out and ordering take-aways, 49 per cent of them say they are now cooking at home more than they used to, making this a key growth area – especially in the realm of meal-kit services.

Some 54 per cent cite the main benefits of meal-kits as a good way to learn new recipes while 40 per cent favour them as a less wasteful option. Meanwhile, 74 per cent of those surveyed say eating out inspires them to cook at home more.

The survey of 2000 18 to 45-year olds living in UK urban areas reports that ‘dining is about’: being social (76 per cent), getting away from the kitchen (73 per cent), special occasions (69 per cent), eating something unable to unwilling to cook (64 per cent) and eating something new (62 per cent).

Other key findings in the wide-ranging survey include:

  • 43 per cent – and 52 per cent of 36 to 45-year-olds – eat less meat than they used to.
  • 54 per cent feel that images are more influential than text when looking at a menu and deciding what to eat
  • 64 per cent of people have visited a pop-up restaurant/experience in the past year
  • 21 per cent eat breakfast out more than they used to, while among those that are now eating out more than they used to in general, this increases to 43 per cent
  • 75 per cent would consider taking a smaller portion size, with 36 per cent believing this would enable them to eat a healthier or lighter meal. However, a fifth of respondents said it would leave room to try another smaller plate of something else.
  • 83 per cent are willing to pay more for their food if it benefits society, although 68 per cent would expect it to be no more than 10 per cent on top of their total bill
  • 49 per cent want to see nutritional information on the menu and 42 per cent want to see provenance of the food and ingredients on the menu as well
  • 58 per cent would be more likely to visit a restaurant because of a famous chef or founder

Jon Blakeney, Group Managing Director at I-AM, said: “As technology-powered ordering systems become ubiquitous, restaurants and other eateries are beginning to think about automating the back end.

“Like retail, automating parts of restaurants can mean more profits and more efficiency. In a landscape where margins are tight, it means more breathing space to offer better service, more interesting recipes and entertainment.”

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