East Coast Wine Trail

East Coast Wine Trail
East Coast Wine Trail

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Your waiter may soon be a robot

More bad news for hospitality industry workers: in the Netherlands they are being replaced by robots.

At a time when many waiting jobs have been lost, the robots are proving popular because they're novel and fun, not because they are more efficient than humans.

Restaurants in the Netherlands were allowed to reopen after the coronavirus from June 1, with tables spaced 1.5 metres apart and a maximum of 30 diners.

Asian restaurant Dadawan in Maastricht has hired three new members of staff - Amy, Aker and James - a trio of robots intended to reduce the number of times the restaurant’s human workforce pass through the eatery.

The robots carry food and drink to diners on trays. The deliveries must be picked up by the customer at the table before the robot returns to the kitchen automatically.

Staff equipped with face masks load food and drink onto the trays, press a table number, and then the robot does its duty.

Another Asian restaurant, the Royal Palace in the beach town of Renesse, ordered two robotic helpers back in March, before Covid-19 took hold. The eatery is offering customers the opportunity to name its two new waiters for the chance to win a free meal.

“The plan had been around for some time," said.Royal Palace owner Shaosong Hu. "I saw them [the robots] in China and liked them. So I ordered them then.”

The two shiny white-and-red robots glide across the dining area’s floor where they will be serving Chinese and Indonesian specialties. They even greet customer with “hello and welcome” using pre-programmed voice.

The current situation could see more non-human helpers appearing at restaurants around the world.

Tim Warrington, CEO of Bots.co.uk, a company which hires out and makes robots, including Amy Waitress (above), said there had been "a huge increase in demand for waitress and delivery robots”.

He said the company was about to launch a new service which allows customers to hire a robot and its software for around $1600 a month.

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