- Under-staffed restaurants are increasingly turning to technology and automation, including robot waiters.
- American Robotech sells four models at a price of up to $ 17,800.
- Videos show how her robots deliver food, clear tables and escort diners to their seats.
Restaurants in the United States are currently struggling to find manpower and are increasingly turning to technology and automation to solve their staffing issues.
A record number of Americans have quit their jobs in search of better wages, benefits and working conditions. This caused a huge labor shortage, with restaurants particularly affected.
They have reduced their hours or closed their dining rooms, both because they cannot find enough staff and because labor is becoming more expensive. Restaurant owners also say service is getting slower and the remaining employees are overworked.
Many have raised salaries and offered better benefits to attract staff – but some have resorted to tech fixes as well.
This includes robotic servers.
American Robotech manufactures four types of robots that can perform functions such as delivering food to tables, cleaning dirty dishes, escorting diners to their seats, and even singing “happy birthday”.
CEO Jackie Chen told Insider that the Texas-based company began sales in early 2021, just as companies began to complain about understaffing.
One of his clients is La Duni, a Latin American restaurant in Dallas, which rents three robots for $ 15 a day each. Espartaco Borga, the owner of the restaurant, told CNN that using the robots was “no-brainer” to relieve his overworked staff.
Chen said the main reason restaurants introduced Robotech’s robots was because they were understaffed. But Chen added that some restaurants are using the robots for branding purposes to differentiate themselves from their competition.
Chen said robots “cannot replace people.” On the contrary, the robots were supposed to take on the repetitive tasks that staff perform hundreds of times a day, he said. They could do these tasks better than people, he added.
Robots are not able to place food on the table. Instead, the robots have platters that kitchen staff can place up to 10 plates on, Chen said. The robots then bring it to the table, where customers or waiters remove it.
The same process works in reverse for staff compensation tables.
The robots also have voice recognition software.
American Robotech claims its robots can run between 10 and 24 hours on a full charge.
The robots have two main drive wheels, as well as up to eight auxiliary wheels.
Chen said the robots work the same as self-driving cars and have a system of cameras and LiDAR sensors that scan their surroundings “all the time.” As a result, they can stop immediately if someone gets in their way, he said.
Restaurants told him their income increased after they started using the robots, Chen said.
Chen said companies can choose to buy or lease the robots. The smallest robot, KettyBot, costs $ 10,800 to purchase, rising to $ 17,800 for the company’s largest robot, HolaBot, plus a service fee, he said.
Most of its customers operated medium to large restaurants of 2,000 to 4,000 square feet and typically only had one robot.
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