Automation is key to survival in the traditional labor-intensive restaurant industry as labor costs rise in Hong Kong and on the mainland. Thus, it is not about controling salary levels but about how the industry can change its business model, possibly through using more automation in the supply chain and in restauants.
Hong Kong seems to follow Japan’s footsteps, where people just press a button at a ramen bar to get their bowl of noodles instead of being served by waiters. Innovation like automated ticketing and order systems and centralized food production could be the key to shedding labor cost.
Vertical integration in the restaurant business was important amid greater concerns about food safety and rising costs.