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Japan's FamilyMart Introduces Cleaning Robots to 300 Convenience Stores

In an effort to combat the labor shortage in Japan, FamilyMart, the country's second-largest convenience store chain, has implemented cleaning robots to maintain the cleanliness of its stores. This move marks a significant milestone for major convenience stores in Japan.

By the end of February, the robots will be deployed in 300 directly operated stores across the nation. FamilyMart plans to extend this service to franchise locations starting in April, offering them the option to rent the robots for a monthly fee.

The robots are programmed to clean the floors five times a day, a task that store staff typically perform three times a day, taking up approximately an hour of their time. By automating this process, employees will have more time to focus on other essential duties, such as restocking shelves and receiving training.

Tsuneo Murai, a managing executive officer at FamilyMart, expressed the company's intention to embrace the use of robots as the workforce diminishes. "As the workforce decreases, we would like to coexist with robots in order to run stores with a small number of people," Murai stated during a press conference on February 6.

In addition to their cleaning capabilities, each robot is equipped with a display monitor that showcases product information and advertisements. The robots also carry items for sale, making them a multifunctional asset for the stores.

To ensure the safety of customers and prevent collisions, the robots are equipped with around 20 sensors and play messages while in operation. This technology helps them navigate through the store without any major issues. However, during the testing phase, there were incidents of children chasing after the robots.

Looking ahead, FamilyMart plans to enhance the robots by incorporating AI cameras. These cameras will aid in studying ways to improve store management, providing valuable insights for future developments.


- FamilyMart introduces cleaning robots to combat labor shortage

- Robots will be deployed in 300 convenience stores nationwide

- Each robot cleans the floor five times a day, freeing up employee time

- Robots also carry items for sale and display product information and ads

- FamilyMart plans to incorporate AI cameras for improved store management

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