Chef Cui is a noodle-slicing robot developed by Cui Runguan, a Chinese restaurateur, that is now being mass-produced and sold in China. The robot only has the single task of slicing noodles into a boiling pot of water, though it also lights up for no apparent functional reason. Probably because it’s a robot. With rising labor costs, it can actually be cheaper for restaurants to purchase a Chef Cui rather than hire on an additional worker.
The robots cost around $2,000, while the average worker would make about $4,700 a year working at a Chinese noodle shop. Even if the owner had to buy two Chef Cuis a year, they’d still be paying out less than they would if they had to hire an extra person to slice noodles by hand. There’s also the added benefit that the machine-sliced noodles are mostly uniform while human-sliced noodles are more irregular.
The Chef Cui was first revealed in March of 2011, but has since gone on to actually be used in noodle shops in China. There’s a demand for the robot chefs, as 3,000 of them have been sold since production started. There’s something slightly ominous about a noodle-slicing robot that’s hard to put a finger on.
A robot cook has appeared at a restaurant in East China’s Zibo City of Shandong Province and is assisting its staff with daily noodle slicing.
The owner of the noodle restaurant, bought the robot for 10,000 yuan, to help with cooking. He said that it saves labor costs. Normally it would cost 2,500 to 3,000 yuan a month to hire a cook for slicing noodles, but the robot only consumes eight kilowatt-hours of electricity.
He added that slicing noodles for a long time is very tiring for a normal worker, but the robot never gets tired.
The restaurant has gained much popularity since the robot began slicing noodles there. Many locals come to the restaurant to try the noodles prepared by the humanoid cook, and most of them have expressed that the noodles are quite good.