(Yicai Global) Feb. 18 -- Specialty catering robots started serving up meals yesterday in an isolation area in Wuhan, capital of China's central Hubei province, the region hardest hit by the novel coronavirus-caused pneumonia.
These machines dispense grub all day long to medical staffers and those isolated for observation or treatment.
Qianxi Robotic Catering Group, a wholly-owned unit under Chinese real estate developer Country Garden Holdings, which developed this class of culinary automats, has donated them to the virus-stricken city of 11 million to aid in the fight against Covid-19. Country Garden shares [HK:2007] were down 2.36 percent in mid-morning trading to HKD10.78 (USD1.39).
"This system resolves the problem of medical staff getting only irregular meals by offering them at any time of the day," said Qiu Mi, Qianxi's general manager. These catering bots are actually a machine system that achieves revolving production and food preparation without any physical contact, automatically cooking up Guangdong's traditional clay-pot rice and vending it for 24 hours a day.
One robot chef can cook with 36 pots at the same time and finish up a batch of the savory dish consisting of browned rice prepared in an earthenware vessel with various meats, beans and the like added, and can serve up to 120 diners within one hour, Qiu also noted, adding the entire preparation process is completely devoid of human contact, which lowers the risks of crossover infection.
Founded in May, Qianxi Robotic Catering now has research and development and management teams comprising about 750 employees in total. The unit operates a robotic restaurant, Foodom, that serves traditional Cantonese cuisine in Guangzhou.
Editors: Tang Shihua, Ben Armour