This restaurant chain uses robotic waiters and actually improved tips

The conversation around robots in the workplace often drifts over how they will replace human workers, but that’s not what a Florida restaurant chain discovered when they deployed a $ 1,000 robot. per month to support certain service tasks.

The New York Times spoke to restaurant chain CEO Sergio about his decision to use Softbank’s Servi robot and found that it actually increased tips for their human servers.

That’s not what opponents of automation are saying at all, and it’s because of the way the chain has implemented the robots. You see, instead of completely replacing the servers, the restaurant uses the Servi robot to bring the food from the kitchen to the dining room, and then the human servers place the food in front of the customers.

This means less body in the kitchen to annoy the kitchen staff. Importantly, it also means that the waiters are no longer overworked in the kitchens. This gives them more time to talk to customers and make sure they have everything they need, resulting in higher tips overall.

The robotic server is called Servi and is the result of a partnership between Softbank and Bear Robotics. The robot formerly known as Penny was renamed Served towards the end of 2020, as Softbank prepared for a large rollout in Japan. Find out in the Bear Robotics video below.

Pretty awesome stuff. The video above shows how Servi can navigate the restaurant, although it’s not quite the same as how Sergio’s Restaurant deploys the robot as the video shows customers taking their own food instead of being helped by a human server.

The chain says it ordered the Servi robots as it faced a labor shortage at the start of the pandemic. Now the bots are in each of its six locations, and it looks like they’re here to stay.

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About Vivian J. Smith

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