Service Robots and the Changing Roles of Employees in Restaurants: A Cross Cultural Study

Authors

  • Aarni Tuomi School of Hospitality and Tourism Management University of Surrey
  • Iis Tussyadiah School of Hospitality and Tourism Management University of Surrey
  • Jason Stienmetz MODUL University Vienna

Keywords:

service robots, service encounters, employees, restaurant management, culture

Abstract

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.

Author Biographies

Aarni Tuomi, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management University of Surrey

Aarni Tuomi is a PhD Researcher at the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, University of Surrey. His research explores the various impacts of emerging technologies, most notably service automation through AI and robotics, on hospitality and tourism theory and practice.

Iis Tussyadiah, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management University of Surrey

Iis Tussyadiah is a Professor of Intelligent Systems in Service and Head of Department of Hospitality with the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at University of Surrey. Her research interest lies in the intersection of digital technologies and user behaviour.

Jason Stienmetz, MODUL University Vienna

Jason Stienmetz is an Assistant Professor of Tourism Information Technology and Digitalization with the Department of Tourism and Service Management at Modul University, Vienna.  Jason’s research interests include experience design and the “smarter” management of tourism destination systems.

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Published

2020-01-01

How to Cite

Tuomi, A., Tussyadiah, I. and Stienmetz, J. (2020) “Service Robots and the Changing Roles of Employees in Restaurants: A Cross Cultural Study”, e-Review of Tourism Research, 17(5). Available at: https://journals.tdl.org/ertr/index.php/ertr/article/view/550 (Accessed: 11May2021).

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Articles