The FuA-Men (Fully Automated raMen) restaurant in Nagoya, Japan features a chef and assistant — both fully autonomous robots. The robots perform all of the cooking tasks needed to make eighty bowls per day, serving the customers who come to their small shop.
When asked, customers seem to feel that there is little difference between noodle dishes prepared by real, human chefs, and meals prepared by autonomous robots. For those who appreciate precision in food preparation, you can't beat robot chefs.
"The benefits of using robots as ramen chefs include the accuracy of timing in boiling noodles, precise movements in adding toppings and consistency in the taste and temperature of the soup," said Kenji Nagaya, president of local robot manufacturer Aisei.
The two chefs also work very well together; their movements are perfectly choreographed.
Science fiction fans have been hungry for news of robotic chefs running restaurants ever since Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote about automated restaurants in his 1912 novel A Princess of Mars. Anthony Boucher wrote about a robot chef in his 1943 short story Robinc.
Now we just need to add a robotic busboy, as suggested by Philip K. Dick in his 1964 novel Lies, Inc..
The FuA-men robotic chefs also work hard to entertain customers. They engage in manzai play, a stand-up comedy style popular in Japan. One robot pretends to threaten with a knife - the other picks up a pot lid to defend itself.