How Three Independent Restaurants are Using Robotics to Improve Operations and the Guest Dining Experience

Toast, Fushi Yami, and Bombshells & Ales are three restaurants that are embracing the robotic revolution.
By Paulina Hubli, Publisher and contributing writer, RTN - 2.19.2024

The restaurant sector is witnessing a paradigm shift with the advent of robotics, revolutionizing not only kitchen operations but also redefining the dining experience. This transformative trend is exemplified by three independent restaurants that recently rolled out their own robotic serves.

Toast – Indian & Asian Fusion: Revolutionizing Service with Servi Plus

Jane greets customers, shows table availability, and escorts them to their chairs.

In Zephyr Cove, Nevada, Toast – Indian & Asian Fusion, led by Arvi Sabherwal, has introduced a groundbreaking change with “Jane,” a Servi Plus hospitality robot by Bear Robotics. This innovative robot, with a capacity to carry 16 dishes and equipped for drink stabilization, has revolutionized the way the restaurant operates.

With ADA ramp navigation, it’s adept at delivering drinks without spills. This innovation hasn’t merely supplemented the staff; it has redefined efficiency and customer interaction.

Jane greets customers, shows table availability, and escorts them, all while ensuring the staff focuses more on customer interaction. This integration of technology not only addresses the employee shortage but enhances the overall dining experience.

Fushi Yami: Attracting Patrons with Mushroom, the Robotic Server

At Fushi Yami in DeKalb, Iowa, a unique robotic server named Mushroom has become the centerpiece of attraction. It’s not just about serving hibachi and sushi anymore; it’s about the experience of being served by technology. Mushroom, with its friendly emoji-display screen and the capability to serve three tables simultaneously, has brought a new wave of customers.

Mushroom navigates using GPS, cameras, and sensors, and can serve up to three tables simultaneously.

With a price tag of approximately $5,000, the robot navigates using GPS, cameras, and sensors, and can serve up to three tables simultaneously. It even keeps food warm, ensuring optimum dining satisfaction. Manager Brian Chen attributes the increase in dine-in customers to this technological marvel, proving that innovation can be a significant draw.

Bombshells & Ales: Local Innovation Meets Futuristic Dining

Bombshells & Ales in Ashland, Kentucky, represents a local restaurant embracing global tech trends. Rosie, a robot inspired by the Jetsons’ maid, not only delivers food but also adds a unique charm to the dining experience. Despite initial skepticism, the staff quickly recognized Rosie’s utility in improving efficiency, especially during busy hours.

William Bare, the restaurant’s owner, deloying a similar robot, dubbed Little Sal, in another restaurant, called Sal’s. These robotic servers, from solution provider United Robotics Group’s Plato line of robotics servers, are more than functional; they’re a statement of innovation and a nod to futuristic dining.

The Wider Impact of Robotics in Restaurants

These pioneering examples from Toast, Fushi Yami, and Bombshells & Ales are just the tip of the iceberg in the robotic revolution within the restaurant industry. From enhancing service efficiency to becoming a unique selling proposition, these robots are redefining how restaurants operate and interact with their customers.

The integration of robotics in these restaurants is a strategic response to the labor shortage while also elevating the dining experience. Robots like Jane, Mushroom, and Rosie are not just workforces; they are part of the restaurant’s identity, attracting families, tech enthusiasts, and new customers intrigued by this fusion of technology and dining.

Restaurants are now leveraging robotics to boost operational efficiency and customer engagement. These technological assistants handle mundane tasks, freeing up human staff to engage more personally with guests, thus striking a balance between efficiency and personalized service.

Patrons, especially families with children, are fascinated by these robotic servers. The novelty of being served by a robot, as experienced by customers at these establishments, adds an element of surprise and delight to the dining experience.

The trend of robotic servers is becoming more than just a novelty; it’s evolving into a practical solution for various challenges faced by the restaurant industry. With advancements in AI and robotics, we can anticipate more sophisticated and interactive robots in restaurants, further enhancing customer service and operational efficiency.