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How Robot Waiters and Bussers are Saving a California Restaurant

An eatery in Stockton, California, is using a robot busser / waiter to serve patrons and buss dishes to the kitchen as it struggles to hire employees amid the US labor crunch.

“We’re stumbling to find people to come by and work, just like every other business right now,” Ana Ortiz, responsible for running the operations of the Sugar Mediterranean Bistro, told NBC News.

“I do not have enough workers, waiters, or bussers to even just to the minimal work required to serve customers well” she added.

Waiter Robots and Busser robots like these are able to safely navigate to tables along with waiters, as well as buss dishes to the kitchen when needed.

All of Avoda’s robots also use LiDAR and boast a state of the art 360-degree camera, among other technology, “know” it’s surroundings as well as the entire layout of the restaurant.

The robots that have four trays, working with a staff member, can increase dishes served threefold. The waiter can carry two, while the robotic assistant is holding 4.

” So, let’s say I am at table two, I am taking the order for table two while the robot is running the food for me to table seven. I load up the robot with dirty dishes and the like, and it busses them right back to the dishwasher,” Ortiz told NBC News.

..While the robot is running the food for me to table seven. I load up the robot with dirty dishes and the like, and it busses them right back to the dishwasher..

Ortiz also told the outlet that the robot is not intended to replace jobs. Even with a competitive stipend and generous schedules, qualified staff were still hard to come by, she said.” It’s just helping us control labor costs as well as compensate for the deficit of workers,” she added.

The US is in the midst of a huge labor deficit as well as rapid cost increases that effect all aspects of a business’s operations. Those 2 combined, are causing some businesses to cut operating hours and raise prices.

The rest of the hospitality industry appears to be hit particularly hard by the labor squeeze. About 75 of independent restaurants and many casinos as well stated they are really struggling to attract staff suited for work. Some even have had to temporarily close because of inflation combined with the labor shortage.