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Photograph: Miquel Llonch

Four ways that robots are improving the food and drink industry in London

Ever been served a cocktail by a robot? Cutting-edge technology is well and truly part of the food and drink industry, reducing food waste, increasing efficiency and making our food taste better

By Paula Akpan. Brought to you by Microsoft
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Robots are changing the London we live in, from how doctors diagnose eye problems to how we cross the road. AI plays a big part in pretty much every industry and the worlds of food and drink are no different. Whether it’s a bot bartender serving you a delicious tipple or an algorithm tweak ensuring that you get your takeaway in record time, here are four ways our food and drink are getting served with a side of technology.

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The Tipsy Robot, Las Vegas
The Tipsy Robot, Las Vegas
Royal Caribbean International

A cocktail-mixing robot

Shaking up (and stirring) the world of mixology, the aptly named Makr Shakr is the world’s first robotic bar system, which makes cocktails in seconds via two literal mechanical arms. It was recently seen in action at the Barbican’s ‘AI: More Than Human’ exhibition. Making 80 drinks per hour with a choice of 158 spirits, lengthy queues for the bar really could be a thing of the past. All you have to do is pick your poison using the Makr Shakr app and your bionic bartender will do the rest.

Winnow Vision
Winnow Vision
Photograph: Maskot

The waste-reducing bin

More than 600,000 tonnes of food waste is disposed of in the hospitality sector every year so, in order to combat this, London start-up Winnow Solutions came up with a handy, well, solution: bin technology. That’s right. With a digital scale, connected table and a camera, the AI trains itself to recognise what’s been thrown into the bin until the data is captured automatically. Daily reports tally up what has been thrown away and how much it costs, meaning businesses can adjust food purchases to avoid waste. That’s a lot of food and money saved thanks to a very smart bin.

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The intelligent cooking bot

For those of us who don’t already have a personal chef on hand, the Moley Robotic Kitchen is the next best thing. With two mechanical arms integrated into a modern and professional kitchen, the robot is designed to learn recipes, cook them and then clear up after itself: a feat that not all humans have yet conquered. Modelling the movements of ‘MasterChef’ star and Brixton’s Nanban restaurant owner, Tim Anderson, the Robotic Kitchen brings top-class culinary dishes a lot closer – so close that you don’t even have to leave your home.

Mother Clucker - Deliveroo fried chicken advertorial
Mother Clucker - Deliveroo fried chicken advertorial
Michael Franke

The delivery-improving algorithm

For those of us who are partial to a hangover-curing pizza or cheat day-indulging curry, lengthy delivery delays can sour the taste of your takeaway. But fear not, because AI has worked its magic with a meals-on-wheels service. Food delivery titan Deliveroo uses an algorithm that scopes out the most efficient way of distributing simultaneous orders, all based on predictive technology using a number of factors including distance and location. Named Frank, after Danny DeVito’s character in comedy series ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’, the algorithm has reduced delivery time in the UK by almost 20 percent so the next time your chicken chow mein arrives piping hot, you know who to thank (it’s Frank).

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