The robots mainly help to collect plates in the restaurant on Alkotmány Street. One of the robot waiters already has a name.
A couple of days ago, two robot waiters showed up at the I55 American Bar & Restaurant. One of them has already been given a name. Unemployment in the hospitality industry has become a huge problem due to the pandemic, and the machines come in handy now, says szeretlekmagyarorszag.hu.
Péter Kiss, the manager of the restaurant, says he had read an article three years ago about robots working in the sector but never thought that they could be the first restaurant in the capital to try it. (A robot server is already working in a café in Józsefváros and a restaurant in Győr.)
Szeretlekmagyarorszag.hu made an interview with the owner of the restaurant who was first asked how the idea came to use robot waiters. He says that he saw the technology near Lake Balaton, in Siófok, and he liked it, so that is why he decided to try it out. Now, they have two robots in the testing phase.
They also asked him whether, as the pandemic caused a shortage of manpower in the hospitality industry, he thinks the robots can help to resolve the problem, and he believes that even though they cannot replace humans completely, with more investment, they will be able to do more than nowadays. The problem is that they need more space, for example, so one or two generations will have to pass until they can be considered as full members of the staff. He also said that when 10 of his staff members got sick in December and there was no one to call, the robots would have come in handy.
The guests love the robots very much, they find it very interesting, people in the centre of Budapest are very open to new ideas. They take selfies with them, smiling as soon as they see them. The restaurant celebrated someone for his birthday, the robots sang, and one of them took the cake out. It still looks a little futuristic, but especially the tourists love this solution.
The restaurant had a very nice colleague, Andy. He is working on other projects now, but they will never forget him and his work ethic. So, in his honour, they named the first robot Andy. The other one is still waiting for a name.
The robots used in the I55 restaurant are the products of Pudu Robotics.
At the beginning of the test operation, Károly Hegyi, the manager-owner of Gastrobot Kft., was also present, and they asked him about the technology, too.
“This robot is manufactured in Shenzhen, this is China’s Silicone Valley, the latest technology is always coming from there. The most important part that has been developed for the robot waiter is self-direction.
This was constantly tested, only after which it could be sent to work among guests. The design was made by the Japanese, they tried to create a nice, cute look.”
He also talked about what other options there are regarding the robots.
“It’s all about programming. Of course, with time, they will be able to do the full service. But the guests will also have to get used to it. For example, in addition to the birthday singing already mentioned, it can also communicate with you while calling you by your name. The robots can also greet guests at the entrance and accompany them to a booked or available table. They can also perform a hostess function, standing in front of the restaurant and inviting people to come in. And if the restaurant owner wants to take the robot to an outside venue, such as a business meeting or a wedding, they have the option. You can upload the map there, or guests can also stop them with a button if they want to get some food or drinks.”
Robots very similar to the one serving food in the video below are used in the restaurant: