By Antonio Bronic
ZAGREB (Reuters) – Craving gnocchi with lamb, black risotto or zucchini pasta? You can order any of them at a Croatian restaurant where a robotic chef is able to rustle up about 70 different one pot meals.
Its owners say they believe the BOTS&POTS Sci-Food bistro in Zagreb is the world’s only restaurant where ready-to-eat meals in a pot are made by robotic cookers with no human involvement other than loading the devices with fresh ingredients.
The devices add oil and seasoning according to digital recipes made by a human chef.
In other similar restaurants, robots stir and fry chips and hamburgers, make pizzas or serve and deliver meals, but “there is no robot which makes a one pot meal from fresh food,” according to restaurant co-owner Hrvoje Bujas.
It took seven years for Bujas’ partners to turn an idea into reality and open the restaurant last year, after investing over 1 million euros ($1.07 million).
“It was indeed a challenge to make a ready-to-eat meal from fresh food in the shortest period of time as possible and as tasty as it can be,” Bujas told Reuters in the high-tech bistro.
Customers seem to agree.
“The food is top quality,” said Lovro Petar Andrisek, 18, who came to Bots&Pots as a treat for his birthday. “My plate is totally clean,” he laughed.
The robotic chef called GammaChef is “taught” digitally how to cook a meal by the restaurant’s head chef, then remembers it and repeats it endlessly.
Five robot cookers can each produce four meals in 15 minutes or nearly 100 meals in an hour, Bujas said, adding that one would cost 10,000 euros if it was for sale.
“We’re considering expanding our business model via franchise,” Bujas said, explaining that the robot speeds up the cooking process and saves money at a time of staff shortages.
“One such restaurant with five robots can be run by a single person,” he said. “Our final goal is to create a ‘no waiter, no chef, no cash’ space where you order, get and pay for food without human contact.”
($1 = 0.9311 euros)
(Reporting by Antonio Bronic, writing by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by William Maclean)