China's most hi-tech hotpot restaurant to open in Lujiazui
Shanghai will soon be home to China’s most hi-tech hotpot restaurant, which offers diners more than 10,000 options for guodi or hotpot bottom soup and automated food processing in a delivery kitchen for food safety.
The technology and innovations at the Haidilao outlet in Lujiazui Finance City in the Pudong New Area are now in trial operation. It is the most advanced and first of its kind among Haidilao’s 50 “high-tech” restaurants, according to an official with the country’s biggest hotpot restaurant chain with more than 1,000 outlets around the world.
“It’s the first restaurant in Haidilao’s third-generation tech upgrades,” said the head of the company's new-tech research center, Zhu Mengyi. “We want to offer diners fancy and customized services while ensuring food safety.”
The restaurant features robot arms for food pickup and delivery, radio-frequency identification chips to track food safety and supply, and robots that deliver food to dining tables.
With a tablet computer menu, people can choose guodi with more than 10,000 varieties of spicy, fresh and salty flavors sold at different prices. In the automated kitchen, the spices are added without any human help.
DIY choices and standard options are available. Diners’ orders can be stored and shared on social networks.
With consumption upgraded quickly, people are demanding more — such as customized services, fresh experiences and food safety, which are essential during the pandemic.
Haidilao expects high growth in Shanghai because the city supports high-tech innovations and encourages consumption, exemplified by the Double Five Shopping Festival held in May.
The automated food pickup, delivery and tracking systems offer countless experiences and improve food quality, Zhu said.
In February, Huawei and Haidilao launched “cloud reunion,” enabling people to gather online via smart screens — a timely innovation in light of the number of family reunions cancelled during Chinese New Year due to the pandemic.