Service Robots and the Changing Roles of Employees in Restaurants: A Cross Cultural Study
Keywords:service robots, service encounters, employees, restaurant management, culture
The advent of increasingly pervasive automation of front-of-house restaurant service processes calls for a cross-cultural examination of employee roles in robotised service encounters. Through an ethnographic approach this study explores robotised service encounters in two culturally distinct contexts: the US and Japan. Five roles service employees may assume are observed to varying degrees of importance depending on cultural context: enabler, coordinator, differentiator, educator, and innovator. The roles of enabler and coordinator seem the most dominant in Japan, while in the US the future of work in restaurants seems more skewed towards the roles of educator and innovator. Implications for hospitality management are discussed, and an agenda for future research is presented.
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