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Personalised Lunches Delivered by Robots for Ocado Staff

Personlised Lunches Delivered by Robots for Ocado Staff
23 September 2021 | Updated 24 September 2021

A fully-customised office canteen lunch, chosen from 2,700 nutritional combinations, could soon be served to you via a foodservice robot.

Ocado workers can even specify down to the gram what hot and cold items, proteins, sauces and fresh toppings are included.

At Ocado’s headquarters. Karakuri’s Semblr, a foodservice robot, is preparing fresh, personalised lunches for the 4,000 employees returning to the office.

This is the world’s first installation of foodservice robotics in a large, high-volume catering environment and is a coordinated effort between Karakuri, a food robotics startup, Atalian Servest, a facilities management services company, and Ocado. 

Semblr has been designed to address the biggest challenges facing the foodservice industry - increasingly complex consumer diets, labour shortages and food waste.




How Do Catering Robots Work?


Ocado’s workforce customise and place their orders and pre-orders from their phone. The robot will individually prepare each meal, selecting from 17 hot or cold ingredients that are uniquely weighed to match the customer order.

Semblr prepares multiple orders at the same time, ensuring it meets the demand of the busiest canteens and restaurants.


"What we’ve delivered to Atalian Servest at Ocado is the most advanced food robotics technology in the world."

–Barney Wragg

CEO and Co-Founder, Karakuri


Pushing the Boundaries of Automation


What makes this technology so exciting is the unparalleled choice it offers to users. With 2,700 different combinations of the dishes on offer, customers can specify down to the gram what hot and cold items, proteins, sauces and fresh toppings are included. This is something that is simply not possible in traditional restaurants and commercial catering.

The implementation of Karakuri robotics, in partnership with Angel Hill Food Co, the specialist corporate catering division of Atalian Servest, showcases how the company's technologies can be used to support restaurants and retail environments in a post-COVID world.

The clean, contactless nature of robotics makes it ideal for supporting the hospitality industry as they adapt to new ways of working due to labour shortages and a more socially distanced way of working.

The traceability of ingredients, nutrients, calories and quantity of every meal could also be used to support upcoming Natasha’s Law requirements.

Semblr is equipped with real-time monitoring of ingredient temperatures, stocking dates and refill times.


Food Waste Prevention


The system has the potential to reduce food waste through the provision of accurate portions and real-time data on ingredient usage.

Semblr can also provide 110 meals per hour, optimising human resources which could improve thin margins for restaurateurs and provide a better working environment for employees.

Barney Wragg, CEO and co-founder of Karakuri, said, “Putting our robot in action in a busy dining room for the first time marks a huge milestone for everybody at Karakuri. We’ve come a long way in two years and our mission remains the same -  to develop robots that support the hospitality and catering industry and improve the experience for both hospitality operators and customers. What we’ve delivered to Atalian Servest at Ocado is the most advanced food robotics technology in the world. We will be watching with anticipation and excitement how Ocado’s employees enjoy the food.”           

Daniel Dickson, Chief Executive Officer at Atalian Servest, added “Working with Karakuri to deliver a successful first installation of Semblr is part of our technology-led FM solution at Ocado’s Head Office. We’re now more excited than ever about the possibilities this revolutionary technology can bring to other parts of our business. Our Angel Hill chef team has been working with Karakuri to develop innovative, contemporary and healthy menus that offer a fantastic added dimension to the Ocado Workplace food offer we deliver.”

Picture: a photograph of a Semblr robot arm serving a bowl of food

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 23 September 2021


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