Robot waiters alleviate restaurant staff shortages


DALLAS – The nationwide labor shortage has forced a North Texas restaurant to rethink how it recruits its workforce. With the surplus of jobs available in the Lonely State, some employers are running out of steam when it comes to finding the right talent.

In order to deal with some staffing issues, the owners of La Duni restaurant in Dallas turned to a trio of robot waiters for help. Three robots named Coqueta, Alexcita, and Panchita were hired for about $ 1,000 each per month from American Robotech to help with house front chores. Robots have the ability to greet customers during check-in and dispense food and drink to individual tables using lidar technology and AI learning.

“It immediately changes the whole perspective of your operations, it’s magic,” said Taco Borga, co-owner of La Duni.

After nearly a year in quarantine, then a devastating winter storm, Borga said hiring hospitality workers had become a nightmare. After a big downturn in business, Borga said many of his former staff are looking for better-paying jobs outside of the service sector.

“They’ve already found new directions, activities, new things to do with their lives,” Borga said. “It’s not that they’re unemployed, it’s just that they’ve decided they don’t want to be in the hospitality industry anymore.”

Four of La Duni’s five restaurants have had to close their doors due to COVID-19. The original location survived the economic setback of COVID-19, but the only problem was having enough people to serve at full capacity, along with the growing demand for take-out orders.

After months with no chance of hiring, Borga decided to integrate robots into its staff. The robots were tasked with alleviating the responsibility of the servers of lifting heavy objects and other small tasks. Borga said that in return, his servers are able to become friendlier to the guests, while saving the burden of food for the machines.

“Especially when it’s really full, it’s good to know she’s there,” said Miranda Garcia, a waitress at La Duni. “It’s more money for us.”

Borga said its servers were able to improve their work efficiency by up to 40%, thanks to the help of the service bots. The robots themselves have also garnered a lot of attention on social media, from unsuspecting guests who are surprised to see an autonomous machine pop out their hotplate.

About James Almanza

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