Asia’s QSR professionals came together in Singapore for the 2nd annual QSR Media Asia Conference and Awards held January 31, and FI Foresight’s Director and resident futurist Rod Fowler was there to present at this well-attended industry event.
Rod’s presentation on robotics, automation and technology covered similar ground to FI Foresight’s Future of Foodservice seminar held at Fine Food last year – while also including up to the minute developments and insights relevant to Asia’s growing foodservice sector.
His key takeout from presenting and moderating a panel discussion at the event was the innovation and can-do attitude that exemplifies the Asian market.
“The sheer energy and positive attitude is palpable and is certainly going to take the market a long way,” Rod says.
“They are very well organised, they work hard and have the advantage of being able to quickly adopt new technology that’s been tried and tested in more mature foodservice markets.
“That means instead of having to invest in and develop new concepts, they can pick up an existing innovation and run with it very quickly which in effect puts them ahead of the game, as the hard yards have already been done.”
The conference brought together Asian and international brand representatives, distributors and foodservice professionals. Rod says: “From my observations, the market is extremely well-educated about the application of technology and very up to date. They have a growing middle class who are spending more on eating out than in the past, so there’s been an explosion of new QSR chains.”
Attending the event gave Rod the opportunity to see the innovations on display, some of which are so tailored to Asian cuisine choices and the Asian palate that they would be impractical for our market – such as a dedicated toasted sandwich maker for the QSR market which accommodates spicy Asian style fillings. Nevertheless, they highlight the local talent for capitalising on the market’s potential through application of new technologies.
Such examples weren’t confined to the conference itself. At breakfast in his hotel, Rod was able to order an omelette prepared by the robotic cooking station adjacent to the breakfast buffet, which ticked both important boxes - presentation and taste.
“They were also trialling a room-service robot – I’d forgotten my razor and had phoned down for one, and it was delivered by a little robot which is able to navigate the lifts and corridors and can activate the doorbell to your room. I opened the door and there was this robot flashing a welcome message on its display screen and inviting me to take the razor from its internal holder. That was another impressive example of the local market’s speed in adapting technological innovation.”
You can also read Rod’s summary piece encapsulating his impressions of the Asian market.